Tamara Reps Freeman, D.M.A.
Holocaust Ethnomusicologist, Teacher, Viola Recitalist, and Singer
Tamara Reps Freeman received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education degree from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, NJ. She is the musicologist for the Association of Holocaust Organizations, the international alliance of Holocaust museums, Holocaust-genocide education commissions, and University departments of Holocaust-genocide history. Dr. Freeman is an adjunct professor of Holocaust Music at Montclair, NJ State University's John J. Cali School of Music where she coaches graduate school chamber musicians to interpret and perform the archival Art music composed during the Shoah. The lessons and legacies of archival Holocaust music come to life in her lecture-recitals, where she sings, plays a viola rescued from the Holocaust, and engaging audiences in community singing.
Her dissertation, Using Holocaust Music to Encourage Racial Respect: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Grades K-12, is our country’s first and only Holocaust music education curriculum for students in Kindergarten - 12th grade. The curriculum was created in response to the 1994 NJ State mandate to teach Holocaust-Genocide Studies and it is endorsed by the NJ State Department of Education. Dr. Freeman's curriculum received an alumni award from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, for having created one of the five the most outstanding music education innovations in the school's 125 year history.
Dr. Freeman's “Music of the Holocaust: A Thematic Design for String Music Education” is a chapter in “Giving Voice to Democracy in Music Education: Diversity and Social Justice” edited by Lisa DeLorenzo Ed.D., Routledge, 2015. Dr. Freeman wrote and published the music curriculum for the 2014 Emmy nominated film “Defiant Requiem”, the true account of Terezin concentration camp prisoners performing Verdi's Catholic Requiem Mass as a form of spiritual resistance: journeysinfilm.org
For 30 years, Dr. Freeman taught music and conducted ensembles in the Ridgewood, NJ Public Schools. She brings pedagogical expertise, passion, and the highest standards of excellence into her Holocaust music classes and workshops, for children, teens, and adults. Her mission is to empower children and adults to see themselves as leaders for social justice.
Dr. Freeman is a concert violinist and violist. Her 1935 Joseph Bausch viola was rescued from the Holocaust. The Bausch viola serves as a voice of remembrance in Dr. Freeman's Holocaust music lecture-recitals which she performs throughout the U.S. The personal stories of composers interned in the ghettos and concentration camps come to life as Dr. Freeman plays their stirring melodies on her resonant viola. Audiences are taught how to sing the most emblematic archival songs, led by Dr. Freeman's lovely alto voice. Each folk song and instrumental piece serve as legacies for humanity, character education, spiritual resistance, and hope.