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Red Contributor

Dorothy Freed

Composer, Performer

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Born: 1919 Died: 2000


Dorothy Freed was born in Dunedin New Zealand in February 1919. She was educated in Melbourne, returning to New Zealand in 1936 where she was employed in secretarial and media work before marrying William Ian Freed in 1940. She continued to work and undertook university study in Wellington and Dunedin while bringing up their three children. She graduated MusB, fromVictoria University of Wellington in 1958 and qualified as a Librarian in 1959. She began her career as a librarian in Wellington, becoming one of the leading music librarians in New Zealand until her retirement in 1986.

Throughout her library career, she was always a strong advocate for the work of her fellow composers, looking for ways to support their work through the Library system and working towards the establishment of a New Zealand Music Centre.

She founded NZ Division of International Association of Music Libraries and published "Music for Amateur Choirs and Orchestras in NZ (1960), "Union List of Manuscripts in NZ Libraries" (1972); "Orchestral Scores - a finding list of performing editions with parts" (1984), and a "Directory of New Zealand Music Organisations" (1986). She has also contributed to major international music publications including "Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians", the "International Directory of Music Research Libraries" and "Fontes Artis Musicae" (IAML).

From 1964-66, she spent two years in London studying composition with Racine Fricker and Elizabeth Lutyens. Her compositions received awards which include the APRA/Radio NZ Prize (1957); Wellington City Council Prize for Composition(1958); Philip Neill Memorial Prize from the University of Otago (1958) and her advocacy work was recognised by an APRA award for outstanding services in the cause of music (1980); and a Lilburn Trust grant in recognition of services to music librarianship and music in New Zealand (1991). From 1991-93, Dorothy served on the first Composers' Advisory Panel of the Centre for New Zealand Music which she had been so involved with founding. After her retirement, Dorothy Freed continued to compose and write for various journals. She specialised in vocal music using New Zealand texts and music for the theatre. In 1998 she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in early 1999 she received the CANZ Citation for Services to New Zealand Music. She died in April 2000.

Composed (53)

A Farewell

for medium voice (baritone or mezzo) and piano, 3m

A Night Full of Nothing

for male voice and piano, 2m

A Nursery Tale (Goldilocks and the Five Bears)

for brass quintet and narrator, 4m

Aquarius March for Brass Band

for brass band, 5m


for mezzo-soprano and piano, 2m

Deserted Beach

for soprano and string orchestra, 8m

Deserted Beach

for soprano and string quintet, 8m

Diversion for Ten Brass Instruments

for concert brass, 8m

Down the Long, Long Trail

incidental music for four solo voices, violin, cello, piano and drums, 20m

Fair and Fair and Twice as Fair

For soprano and tenor with string trio, 4m

Good Woman of Szechuan

for solo flute

How Should I Your True Love Know?

for voice and piano, 2m

I Sing of a Maiden

for a cappella SATB choir, 4m

Jenny Kissed Me

for a cappella SATB choir, 3m


for voice and piano

Lament for Te Wano

for a cappella SATB, 7m


for voice and piano, 2m

Little Red Hoodingride

for narrator, piano, drums, horn, 10m

Mary Had a Baby

four-part a cappella carol with soloist

Mortal Love

for a cappella SATB choir, 3m

My true love hath my heart

for voice and piano

Night Song

for baritone and piano, 3m

Night Song

for medium voice and piano, 3m

O Mistress Mine

for voice and piano, 2m

Old Hungarian Folksong

for a cappella SATB Choir, 4m


for a cappella SATB choir, 4m


for solo piano


For solo piano, 4m

Sounds and Winds of Wellington

pastiche or farce for narrator and chamber ensemble, 15m

String Quartet No. 2

for string quartet, 20m

Suicide Deferred

a farce for soprano, two pianos, percussion and cello, 10m


for voice and piano, 2m

The Bargain

for voice and piano, 2m

The Chinese Terracotta Soldiers

For solo piano, 5m

The Circle

Incidental music for solo piano

The Diva

A satirical song for soprano and piano, 4m

The Friendly Beasts

a carol for three part treble choir with soloist

The Golden Willowtree

For solo or unison voices with piano, 4m

The Pomegranate Tree

for voice and piano, 3m

The Sea Child

for alto (or mezzo soprano) and piano, 3m

The Sun has Spread his Shining Wings

for medium voice (mezzo or baritone) and piano, 2m

Through A Glass Darkly

for oboe, clarinet and 3 narrators, 13m

Tom's A-Cold

for baritone or medium voice and piano

Turn Your Face to Mine

medium voice (baritone or mezzo) and piano, 3m

Variations for Woodwind Quintet

for oboe, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon

Variations on a Fanfare

for orchestra, 15m

War With the Weeds

for baritone and piano, 3m

Wellington Letter

for quartet and narrator - incidental music for poems, 6m

Whence comes this rush of wings afar?

carol for four-part women's choir (SS, M-S, A), 2m


For voice and piano, 2m

Woodwind Quartet

For woodwind quartet

Recordings (1)

Resources (4)

Canzona 2000 vol 21 no 42

Commentary or analysis

crescendo No. 55, April 200

Commentary or analysis