American pianist and vocal coach Beebe Freitas Died at 79


Beebe Freitas was born on August 28, 1938 and died on February 17, 2018.

She was an American pianist, organist, vocal coach, and educator.

Beebe was the Head of Music for Hawaii Opera Theatre.

She made her professional debut performing with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra during their 1955 – ’56 season.

She was a Scholarship Masters recipient at Boston University Freitas served as a rehearsal pianist for Charles Munch, Music Director and Conductor of the Boston Symphony, during their 1958 – ’59 season and, during the summer of 1959 performed as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Arthur Fiedler conducting.

During her time at Juilliard Freitas served as the Choral Rehearsal Pianist from 1959 to 1962 and participated in the Opening Performance of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

After her and husband Lewis moved to Honolulu, she taught privately and was the organist at Niu Valley’s Kilohana Methodist Church under Helen Noh Lee.

Freitas became a member of the faculty of the University of Hawaii Music Department, Manoa Campus, in 1972 teaching piano, accompanying, working with choruses, and coaching opera and music theater workshops.

She then started working with Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) as rehearsal pianist in 1972 when Robert LaMarchina, then conductor of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra (recently renamed Hawaii Symphony), initiated regular opera productions.

Freitas helped shepherd the transition of the company, as part of the Honolulu Symphony, to being a separate institution, serving at various times as rehearsal pianist, vocal coach, co-Choral Master with Nola Nahulu, Artistic Director, Associate Artistic Director and was Head of Music for the company.

Freitas has performed in recitals with David Shifrin, Tom Boyd, Leonard Rose, Sylvia McNair, Bernard Greenhouse, Yo-Yo Ma, Quinn Kelsey, Maya Hoover, Lawrence Paxton, Sasha Cooke, Leon Williams, Frederica von Stade and others.

Freitas was the keyboard specialist with the Honolulu Symphony for thirty years and has performed with many of the professional chamber music groups in the state, including the Galliard String Quartet and the Spring Wind Quintet.

Freitas has recorded Sea Dreams, for Lehua Records and keyboards for Rosemary Clooney’s last two recordings: “The Last Concert” (2002) and “Best of the Concord Years” (2003).

Freitas was a member of several music organizations in Honolulu, including Hawai’i Arts Alliance.

She died at 76 years old.