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Pink Sugar
Carmel Freeman in Utrecht
Carmel Freeman swing


Carmel Freeman and Matisse
Carmel Freeman performing on guitar at Seth in the hague

my life in short


Born in Israel to parents of Moroccan, Kurdish and European heritage, and raised in Tkaronto (Toronto), from childhood Freeman was exposed to a unique blend of music traditions which over time only continued to diversify. 


For the last two decades, Carmel Freeman has been gaining a reputation as a genre-bending and innovative composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist. A conservatory education in both jazz performance and classical composition, a passion for electronics and computer music and time on stage playing a myriad of genres have fostered a unique and distinct musical voice. Carmel Freeman graduated from York University in 2018 with an undergraduate degree in Jazz Guitar, and from Codarts Rotterdam in 2022 with a masters degree in Classical Composition.  


some words about my practice

My nights as a child were coated in blue. I’d be with my mom or dad, my limbs spilled on the living room couch as our TV punctuated stillness with an ethereal glow. I was comforted by the bursts of sound that filled the room; I’d shut my eyes and pretend I was asleep to delay getting sent to my room. Meaning and signification drifted away from the soundscape that washed over me, leaving behind skeletons of morphing spectra. Sounds were abstracted from their sources, visceral rather than interpretive - listening to these sound objects was an embodied of knowing.


Through listening we engage with acoustic environments, as well as  complex affective, cognitive and behavioural processes. Listening goes beyond sensing sound and instigates memory, emotion, association and perspective. Unlike hearing, listening does not even require a vibratory prompt, and can occur internally in one's imagination.


Sound and time have been (dis)organised by my life. Growing up, I didn’t look like anybody around me. The nine surgeries I had in my early years to “correct” this mostly failed, leaving me feeling flawed, like there was something wrong with me. This otherness affected how my body experienced the world, casting sensorial shadows on my perception. When I was 17, I suffered from severe episodes of mania and depression that were eventually diagnosed as bipolar disorder. The currents of this illness stripped clock-time of its rate as hours shifted between endless nows and fleeting bursts. My emotions bent how I heard my world, as sounds both drowned in thick sorrow and dazzled with sparkles of light. Listening revealed its nature as rooted in and of the body and mind rather than solely in vibration.


Through music I(dis)organise sound and time: I mould the spectral and temporal grammars of a space’s sonic manifestations. I pursue unfolding sound worlds that engage the body as intrinsically organic, embracing living and breathing timbral morphologies. Many of my works develop around a framework of lingual acoustics as inherently corporeal and physical develops. I understand the speaking voice to be quintessentially visceral; a lens into and conduit of organic, tangible sounds. I approach the voice as a sound object which could be deconstructed, manipulated and orchestrated.

I am a listener-composer with an indiscriminate attitude towards sound. My music is rooted in the corporeal: the performer in motion struggling to play an instrument, the feeling of music vibrating in your gut when you stand in front of a sound system at a dance club, the ways in which you listen to a space as a sounding object filled by the vibrations of a piano. Through sound I conjure the organic and living. By exploiting the instinctual qualities of sound I understand and challenge the extra-musical. I connect to myself and through my body learn new ways of experiencing the world. When we listen we remember, we feel, we question, we understand.


notable performances

2022 “Anastomosing” (hydrophone, electronics), WORM, Rotterdam, NL

2022 “Oiseau” (small ensemble, projection), Codarts, Rotterdam, NL

2022 “Take and Expel” (harp, projection), Codarts, Rotterdam, NL

2022 “Gut” (strings), Westvest 90, Scheidam, NL

2022 “The Act of Winning” (mixed-media, sensors), KORZO, The Hague, NL

2022 “Most Trees Don’t See The Forest” (orchestra, feat. Wijk Hijmans, cond. by Leonard Evers), Codarts, Rotterdam, NL

2021 “What Happens When You Don’t” (orchestra, cond. by Joost Geevers), De Doelen, Rotterdam, NL

2020 “Body Without Organs” (electronics), WORM, Rotterdam, NL

awards, residencies, projects

2022 WORM Sound Studio, Rotterdam, NL
2022 Sensing Climate Change, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, NL

2022 Madame Jambon, KonCon/KABK, The Hague, NL
2021 Holland Scholarship
2020 Blind Date, Codarts/Willem de Koning, Rotterdam, NL
2019 Alan Lessem Memorial Award
2019 Marlon Lower Prize
2019 Jazz.FM91 Scholarship
2018 Harvey Marsden Award
2018 Sterling Beckwith Award
2018 Karabekos Award
2018 Peggie Sampson Scholarship
2018 Dr. Peter Zaparinuk Scholarship
2018 Oscar Peterson Scholarship


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