BETTY FREEMAN: A Life for the Unknown

This documentary shows the life of Betty Freeman who is probably one of the most influential patrons of contemporary music. Since she began to give 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, librettos 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 as famous artists as John Cage, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson and Peter Sellars and also younger composers as the Austrian Olga Neuwirth and the Swiss Hans Peter Kyburz for example. 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 whom she is in touch with and sequences of the music and productions which were made possible by her generosity, staged especially for this film.