Musical and Artistic Interests

Freeman has maintained an enduring interest in the performing arts and the visual arts. His practise as an artist has included performer, composer, draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor. He has also dabbled in writing (unpublished) novels and poetry.


As a timpanist and percussionist, he has performed with many professional and amateur orchestras in London, Cambridge, and Sydney, and in venues ranging from town halls and college chapels to the Sydney Opera House. He has primarily performed symphonic repertoire, and personal highlights include:

  • his virtuosic flexatone solo in the Khachaturian Piano Concerto with the Cambridge University Musical Society.
  • playing the automobile horns in Gershwin’s An American In Paris with the Whitehall Orchestra at the Barbican.
  • cracking the whip in Bozza’s Trumpet Concerto, with the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra in the University’s Great Hall.
  • wonderful memories ensconced behind the timpani in works by Sibelius, Mozart, Schubert, Barber, and many other great composers.

At the University of Sydney, he was a member of the University’s gamelan. He also spent some time with his lips pursed around an oboe reed to no particular avail.


Of all his creative interests, composing has been his deepest. He has written pieces for different combinations of instruments and voices, with an emphasis on percussion (including the influence of gamelan music), and an interest in the compositional technique of twelve-tone composition (or serialism), particularly in the music of Anton Webern. Examples of his compositions include the following:

  • And Then the Lighting of the Lamps  for wind quintet and percussion – won second prize for composition in the North Queensland Concerto Competition (the title being drawn from the last line of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Preludes’).
  • Bangalore Principles  for the National Carillon, Canberra – written for the National Carillon which is across Lake Burley Griffin from the High Court in Canberra (the title being drawn from a speech Justice Kirby gave about the Bangalore Principle in international law).
  • Sun’s Fleeting Days for string quartet – composed for the wedding of Freeman’s friends, Julian Leeser and Joanna Davidson, at the State Library of New South Wales (the title being taken from Ecclesiastes, 12.12).
  • Sun’s Fleeting Days concert overture for chamber orchestra – a revised version of the string quartet.
  • Ho, Ho, I Am the Toad for voice and piano – an arrangement of which was performed at the Garrick Club in London (a setting of Mr Toad’s Song from The Wind in the Willows).
  • French Allemande for marimba and piano – a virtuosic work for solo marimba that explores gamelan music (the title being a play on the musical term, ‘allemande’, which is French for ‘German’).
  • D’varim l’David for SATB choir – an a cappella setting of three Hebrew texts by the biblical King David (his lament, thanksgiving, and final words; the title means ‘Words of David’).

He began composing at high school, and examples of compositions he wrote for the Higher School Certificate include the following:

  • Hava Nagila for percussion instruments – a gamelan-style arrangement of the traditional Hebrew folksong.
  • I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died for four unaccompanied voices – a setting of the poem by Emily Dickinson.
  • Ariel’s Song for four voices with instrumental accompaniment – a setting of the song from Act ?, scene ?? of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
  • Piano for voice and piano – a setting of D. H. Lawrence’s poem, and dedicated to the composer’s high school music teacher, Mrs Witton.


He has also continued to experiment with a range of different media in the visual arts:

  • As a draughtsman, he has a particular interest in figurative art, and has experimented with mixed media on paper. To see a portfolio of his work, click here.
  • As a printmaker, he has experimented with etching, aquatint and other forms of printmaking. To see a portfolio of his work, click here.
  • He also has some experience with mixed media sculpture, one of which was exhibited at the Art Express exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1995. To see an extract from the catalogue, click here.
  • To see a photograph of a more recent experiment with carving, click here.
  • As a schoolboy, he also dabbled with making wearable art out of gum leaves. For a photograph of him wearing his work, click here.
Freeman, Duet

Freeman, Duet