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 Robert N. Freeman

Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Music

Santa Barbara



Robert N. Freeman, known to his friends and colleagues as Bob, and by his many students at UCSB as “Dr. Bob,” died June 18, 2002, in his Santa Barbara home after a long illness. He was 61. He was born on August 29, 1939, in Vancouver, Canada, and attended UCLA from 1959 to 1971. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (with distinction) at the school. During this period, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Austria, and it was then that he began his lifelong love affair with the country and its people. He taught at the College of the Canyons in Valencia and at California State University, Los Angeles, before joining the UCSB faculty in 1974.

Bob loved his work, and the musicology program at UCSB, and his students. He was a solid, gifted scholar, deeply in love with his subject: the Benedictine Abbey of Melk and its music in the eighteenth century. He would speak glowingly of the Abbey, his work there, and of his second Austrian family, with whom he stayed on their farm outside the city. He was the author of monographs on the composer Franz Schneider (1979), and on The Practice of Music at Melk Based upon the Documents, 1681-1826 (1989); he edited a volume of Austrian Cloister Symphonies (1982) for the series, The Symphony, 1720-1840. Particularly important, too, were his articles on “New Sources for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Cadenzas from Melk Abbey” (1992) and “Johann Georg Albrechtsberger’s ‘26 canoni aperti varii autori’: Observations on Canonic Theory and Repertory in the Late 18th Century” (1994). Throughout much of his long illness, he struggled to finish his last scholarly project: a collection of essays by his mentor Karl Geiringer, who had hired him at UCSB in 1974. Many of us remember the celebration of his finishing this work in September 2001 at the party he gave for those who had helped. Bob was made a member of the Austrian Musicological Society in 1990. This was a rare honor, since foreigners can join the society only by invitation.

The musicology program at UCSB had no more fiercely loyal supporter than Bob. He was a tireless worker for it and often feisty in its support. He worked with his colleagues to build a fine program in musicology here, and he was very proud that every single one of its students received academic positions when they finished. Bob brought in the first major fellowship endowment for the musicology program, the Sickinger Fellowship, from his friends Ruth and Nelson Culver.

A meticulous teacher, Bob poured great effort into his classes. He taught students of all levels, from non-majors to surveys for music majors to seminars for Ph.D. students. He designed several new classes, among them an interdisciplinary class in German literature and music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which he taught with Wolf Kittler of the Department of Germanic, Slavic, and Semitic Studies.

Bob was a devotee of jazz and worked hard to strengthen the Jazz Ensemble at UCSB, even directing it for a time. He loved gardening and working on his house overlooking the Santa Barbara Mission and the marina. He was very fond of sports cars and owned and carefully maintained a 1972 MGB. He is survived by two sisters, a brother, and two daughters, Angela and Natasha. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and former students.


                            William Prizer