Betty Freeman
A Life for the Unknown
Director: Paul Fenkart
Author: Laszlo Molnar
Distributor: Poorhouse Int.
© 2004, 52 mins. a co-production with WDR
This doc­u­ment­ary shows the life of Betty Free­man who is prob­ably one of the most in­flu­en­tial pat­rons of con­tem­por­ary mu­sic. Since she began giv­ing fin­an­cial as­sist­ance to com­posers and per­formers of con­tem­por­ary mu­sic in 1964, she has giv­en a total of 413 grants and com­mis­sions for liv­ing ex­penses, com­pos­i­tions, re­cord­ings, per­form­ances, lib­retti, etc. to 81 artists.

Among these artists, who could not have cre­ated the works they are known for without the pat­ron­age of Betty Free­man, are fam­ous artists such as John Cage, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson and Peter Sel­lars, and also young­er com­posers such as the Aus­tri­an Olga Neuwirth and the Swiss Hans Peter Ky­burz.

Dur­ing the era of Ger­ard Mor­ti­er and Hans Landes­mann as dir­ect­ors of the Salzburg Fest­iv­al, Betty Free­man gave money for com­mis­sion­ing com­pos­i­tions and paid for en­tire pro­duc­tions such as for "L'Amour de Loin" by the Finnish com­poser Kaija Saari­aho.
Betty Free­man main­tains strong per­son­al re­la­tions to artists whom she sup­ports and is there­fore an im­port­ant wit­ness of the de­vel­op­ment of con­tem­por­ary mu­sic. The doc­u­ment­ary con­tains in­ter­views with mu­sic and arts people with whom she is in touch, i.e. Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sel­lars, Steve Reich, Gérard Mor­ti­er, Helmut Lachen­mann, Hans­peter Ky­burz, Pierre Boulez and many oth­ers, as well as se­quences of the mu­sic and pro­duc­tions which were made pos­sible by her gen­er­os­ity, i.e. Steve Reich's "Dif­fer­ent Trains", Pierre Boulez' "Nota­tions", vari­ous son­atas and in­ter­ludes by John Cage, and works from Helmut Lachen­mann, György Li­gety, and Harry Partch. The pe­formers are: Markus Hin­terhäuser (pi­ano), the Lu­cerne Fest­iv­al Academy Or­ches­tra and one of today's most out­stand­ing mu­sic groups for con­tem­por­ary mu­sic: The Stadler Quar­tett.
Louvre Auditorium
Louvre Auditorium
Selected for the 2006 programme
of "Classique en images"