WFIU’s featured composer for June is Don Freund, Professor of Composition at the Jacobs School of Music.
Don Freund’s compositions range in style from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to pieces involving live performance—electronic instruments, dance, and music for theater. He is also an active pianist, conductor, and lecturer.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1947, Freund studied at Duquesne University and earned his graduate degrees at the Eastman School of Music. His composition teachers included Joseph Willcox Jenkins, Darius Milhaud, and Samuel Adler. As founder and coordinator of Memphis State University’s Annual New Music Festival, he programmed close to a thousand new American works.
Many orchestras have performed his compositions. The Kansas City Symphony has featured his poem symphony Radical Light, and both the IU Concert Orchestra and the Interlochen World Youth Symphony Orchestra have performed his Sinfonietta.
In 2010, Freund was awarded a $50,000 Indiana University “New Frontiers” grant that resulted in a cross-disciplinary immersive theater production of his composition PASSION with Tropes. Collaborating with a team of artists from IU’s Departments of Theatre and Digital Arts assembled by conductor Carmen Helena Téllez, the work was presented at the Ruth N. Halls Theatre in May.
Teaching composition continues to be a major component of Freund’s career. Students he’s taught over his 30-year teaching career have won an impressive array of awards and recognitions. Lectures from his six-hour series “Composition Lessons with JS Bach” are available on YouTube.
WFIU will feature music written by Don Freund throughout the month of June.