This documentary shows the life of Betty Freeman who is probably one of the most influential patrons of contemporary music. Since she began giving financial assistance to composers and performers of contemporary music in 1964, she has given a total of 413 grants and commissions for living expenses, compositions, recordings, performances, libretti, etc. to 81 artists.
Among these artists, who could not have created the works they are known for without the patronage of Betty Freeman, are famous artists such as John Cage, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson and Peter Sellars, and also younger composers such as the Austrian Olga Neuwirth and the Swiss Hans Peter Kyburz.
During the era of Gerard Mortier and Hans Landesmann as directors of the Salzburg Festival, Betty Freeman gave money for commissioning compositions and paid for entire productions such as for "L'Amour de Loin" by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.
Betty Freeman maintains strong personal relations to artists whom she supports and is therefore an important witness of the development of contemporary music. The documentary contains interviews with music and arts people with whom she is in touch, i.e. Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sellars, Steve Reich, Gérard Mortier, Helmut Lachenmann, Hanspeter Kyburz, Pierre Boulez and many others, as well as sequences of the music and productions which were made possible by her generosity, i.e. Steve Reich's "Different Trains", Pierre Boulez' "Notations", various sonatas and interludes by John Cage, and works from Helmut Lachenmann, György Ligety, and Harry Partch. The peformers are: Markus Hinterhäuser (piano), the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra and one of today's most outstanding music groups for contemporary music: The Stadler Quartett.
Selected for the 2006 programme
of "Classique en images"