Esteemed music critic and writer Richard Freed passed away on New Year’s Day, a few days after his 93rd birthday. Reference Recordings is incredibly fortunate that he provided superb music notes for 17 of our albums in the last thirty years. For decades, Mr. Freed corresponded frequently with our founder Tam Henderson. We will miss him, and the classical music world has lost a great soul.
Richard Freed (1928 – 2022)
Richard Freed, distinguished music critic and advocate of national arts funding, died at his home in Rockville, MD, on New Year’s Day. He was 93.
Freed, who was born in Chicago, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reading about music and records with the 1941 Victor catalog as bedside book. He studied at the University of Chicago where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1947.
He wrote and broadcast on music for some 60 years, during which time he served on the music staffs of Saturday Review and The New York Times and reviewed recordings for National Public Radio and radio stations in Chicago and Washington. He had long relationships with Stereo Review (for which, in addition to monthly reviews and feature articles, he wrote a separately published annual rating of recordings called “The Basic Repertory”), The Washington Star, The Washington Post,and other newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and U.K. He also programmed and annotated a series of recordings for the Smithsonian Institution.