Freeman, Alex


American-Finnish composer Alex Freeman (b.1972) has established himself among the foremost composers of choral music in Finland. A teacher, and a choral singer himself, he composes music that reflects an appreciation for a wide range of aesthetics and a passion for communicating with listeners and performers. His music aims to be sonorous, melodic, and resonant, but is always crafted to carefully avoid the cliches that can sometimes burden conventional tonality.

Freeman grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and in 1990 went to study composition at the Eastman School of music. He then moved to Boston to study with Lukas Foss and got his Master’s at Boston University, spending two summers teaching young composers at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In 1998 he began his doctoral studies at the Juilliard School, studying with Christopher Rouse. As a 2001 Fulbright Fellow, he also studied at the Sibelius Academy with Eero Hämeenniemi, while completing his doctoral studies. He currently lives in Finland.

Alex Freeman’s choral works have received enthusiastic reception and they have been recorded by BIS. Under the Arching Heavens: A Requiem was nominated for the 2019 Teosto Prize. According to the jury, it is “a profound work offering consolation for the moments when we are face to face with transience”. His other large-scale work for a cappella choir, Cathedral of Spring, was the centerpiece of the 2019 YLE (Finnish National Radio) Album of the Year, recorded by Somnium Ensemble for their 10th anniversary. Calle sin nombre (Street without a Name) addresses a contemporary issue: asylum-seeking children from Latin America are separated from their parents in the USA. I Feel the Same Way (Three Songs of Lilian Moore) was composed for the Helsinki Conservatory children’s choir (SSA). His largest work is the Ghost Light premiered in November 2022 at the Helsinki Music Centre. It is an expansive and impressive 50-minute choral symphony which draws upon the ecstatic optimism and imagery in the poetry of Walt Whitman and others.

Ghost Light

A Choral Symphony in Three Parts

for mixed choir and orchestra


Duration: 55

Calle sin nombre
Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble/Nils Schwekendiek (Spotify)

Under the Arching Heavens – a Requiem
A Wilderness of Sea

Helsinki Chamber Choir/Nils Schweckendiek (BIS Records)