University of South Carolina

Her heart will go on

By Frenche Brewer,, 803-777-3691

A thoughtful and extraordinary birthday gift for one has evolved over the years into an event for many to enjoy.

Cornelia Freeman, Columbia pianist, arts supporter and philanthropist, wanted to surprise her 90-year old husband Robert with a special birthday gift in April 2001. Her present was to fund a concert put on by the S.C. Philharmonic. The surprise celebration turned into a memorial to her husband instead, when he died five months before his birthday.

But, as the saying goes, the show must go on.

Freeman was a faithful fan of the annual University of South Carolina September Concert Series. When she learned that the concerts were not bringing in enough revenue to support performance costs, Freeman offered to pay for all of the September Series programs and have the proceeds dedicated to student scholarships. Not long after that, the series was renamed the Cornelia Freeman Concert Series.

 “Consistent with her great love for beautiful music, for the enrichment of the public, and for deep musical learning for students wishing to become professional musicians, Cornelia Freeman has been a champion of our faculty chamber music series bearing her name for many, many years. She is the model of what a ‘musical friend’ should be, and is among the most significant cultural promoters in Columbia’s history. It gives us all in the School of Music an enduring sense of pride to present the concerts each autumn--under her name--for her and for the audiences she has helped us cultivate through the years,” Tayloe Harding, School of Music dean said.

Freeman, now 100-years old, and residing in assisted living, still attends each concert, along with her children.

“It’s a wonderful gift to Columbia from the School of Music faculty to bring this glorious music for us to enjoy. What I do is just a small part in helping that happen," Freeman said. "I am very impressed with the prestigious faculty at the music school. "

All concerts are held in the School of Music recital hall at 3 p.m. each Sunday in September and Oct. 7, and feature performances by School of Music faculty.

For single concerts, tickets are $12, adults; senior citizens and USC faculty and staff, $10; students, $5; adult series tickets, $50; senior adult series tickets, $40. Reserved seating for the entire series is available for an additional $100 per series tickets. 

Reserved seating is not available for individual concerts. 

For more information, or 803-777-4280.

If you're going: Cornelia Freeman Concert Series- 3. p.m., School of Music recital hall, rm. 206

  • Sept. 9 - arias and duet by Handel; Tina Stallard, soprano; Jacob Will, bass; Rebecca Nagel, oboe; Jerry Curry, harpsichord; and
  • La Valse by Ravel Joseph Rackers, piano 
  • Sept. 16 - "Partita No. 3" in E major; "BWV 1006" by J.S. Bach, Craig Butterfield, double bass;
  • "Andante e Rondo Ongarese, Op. 35" by Weber Constance Gee, viola; Charles Fugo, piano recitative and aria; and
  • “Ich bin allein” (Faust) by Spohr Tina Stallard, soprano; Joseph Eller, clarinet; Lynn Kompass, piano; "Footprints" by Gordon (Dick) Goodwin James Ackley, trumpet; Bradley Edwards, trombone;
  • Sept. 23 - from "Fiori musicali" (1635) by Frescobaldi from "Hommage à Frescobaldi" by Langlais William Bates, organ variations on the name "ABEGG, Op. 1" by Schumann, Charles Fugo, piano
  • "Reciprocity for trombone and tuba" by Meador, Bradley Edwards, trombone; Ronald Davis, tuba;
  • "Nonet, H. 374" by Martinů, Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute; Rebecca Schalk Nagel, oboe; Joseph Eller, clarinet; Robert Pruzin, horn; Michael Harley, bassoon; William Terwilliger, violin; Constance Gee, viola; Robert Jesselson, violoncello; Craig Butterfield, bass and
  • "Broken Resolutions Red Wine & Blue Plaza Luna" by Bert Ligon, William Terwilliger, violin; Rebecca Hunter, violin; Constance Gee, viola; Robert Jesselson, violoncello; Craig Butterfield, bass; Bert Ligon, piano;
  • Sept. 30 - "Impromptu in G-flat Major, D. 899, No. 3" by Schubert; 
  • "Impromptu in F-sharp Major, Op. 36" by Chopin, John Williams, piano;
  • "Bilitis" by Debussy, Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute, Charles Fugo, piano;
  • "Breaking" by John Fitz Rogers, Clifford Leaman, saxophone, Joseph Rackers, piano; and
  • "Old Shoes Fable Drive Time" by Bert Ligon, Bert Ligon, piano,Craig Butterfield, bass;
  • Oct. 7 - "De Provenza il mar" (La Traviata) by Verdi;
  • "Non piu andrai" (Marriage of Figaro) by Mozart, Richard Conant, baritone; Charles Fugo, piano;
  • "Centennial Horizon" by McKee, James Ackley, trumpet, Joseph Rackers, piano; "Winter Music" by John Fitz Rogers, Rebecca Hunter, violin,Lynn Kompass, piano;
  • "At the Marion Opera House" by Tayloe Harding, Robert Jesselson, cello; Charles Fugo, piano; and
  • "Ocean Calling" by Warshauer Lomazov/Rackers duo - Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers, piano.

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Posted: 09/07/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 09/07/12 @ 5:00 PM | Permalink