Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Freeman takes VCU-symphony post

Erin R. Freeman, outgoing associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, has been appointed to a new joint position as director of choral activities at Virginia Commonwealth University and director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus. She has led the chorus since 2007.

The new post is being “piloted” as a one-year,
non-tenure faculty appointment at VCU for the 2014-15 academic year.

Freeman’s future with the Symphony Chorus had been uncertain since her appointment last July as director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.

Taking the new Richmond post means that she “will be continuing her exceptionally fine work with the [Symphony] Chorus, as well as becoming a leader in this heightened collaboration with VCU,” Steven Smith, the symphony’s music director, said in a prepared statement.

“We are delighted that Dr. Freeman will be lending her formidable talents to the VCU community, and we are excited about the potential of this new collaboration” with the symphony, said Daryl V. Harper, chair of the VCU Music Department.

In addition to new responsibilities at VCU, Freeman faces a busy 2014-15 season of performances. The Richmond Symphony Chorus will sing in Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony (No. 2), Handel’s “Messiah,” Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” the “Let It Snow!” holiday pops program and a Duke Ellington program with church and community choirs. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus schedule includes Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells,” Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative concert and several Christmas and pops engagements.

A native of Atlanta, Freeman sang in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus under Robert Shaw’s direction, and later became a member of his chamber chorus, the Robert Shaw Singers. She came to Richmond in 2004 to conduct the Richmond Philharmonic. She was hired as the Richmond Symphony’s assistant conductor in 2006, and subsequently was promoted to associate conductor. She also led the American University Symphony Orchestra in Washington, and has guest-conducted a number of ensembles.

Freeman has degrees from Northwestern University and Boston University and a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.