Party for Betty                                                    

On 5 May 2010 at REDCAT in Los Angeles, members of the Vir2Ual Cage team performed Song Books at a special concert celebrating the legacy of the late Betty Freeman, an American philanthropist, photographer, and leading patron of contemporary music. For over 40 years since the early 1960s, Freeman gave over 400 grants to over 80 composers, including John Cage, who dedicated to her his Freeman Etudes, a set of incredibly complex pieces for solo violin. “Old music is fine,” she said. “But I like complexity, challenge, ambiguity, abstraction.” Freeman enthusiastically commissioned a wide variety of pieces, subsidized performances and recordings, and even helped some composers meet their living expenses. The musical salons she hosted in the 1980s at her art-filled house in Beverly Hills, showcasing recent works from emerging as well as established composers, were legendary in the Los Angeles new music scene. Below are photos from a short rendition of Song Books performed by Paul Berkolds, Jacqueline Bobak, and Carmina Escobar at REDCAT’s entrance to Walt Disney Hall’s parking garage during the concert’s intermission.

Photos 1–6 by Steve Gunther. Photos 7–13 by Mark Bobak.