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Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Chicago, IL, June 2, 1921; d Beverly Hills, CA, Jan 3, 2009). American philanthropist and photographer. Her tireless and joy-filled efforts to promote 20th-century music enabled the creation of many remarkable works. She grew up in Brooklyn and New Rochelle, New York, and eventually graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in English and Music, with an emphasis on piano performance. During the 1960s, contemporary American art captured Freeman’s imagination, leading her to collect abstract expressionistic works and write books on the artists Clyfford Still and Sam Francis. Her interest in art led to her involvement with American music. She was asked by art collecting acquaintances to contribute to the legal defense fund of La Monte Young. She donated to his defense and, upon his release, was entranced by his music. Her resulting interest in contemporary music led her to give small stipends to various composers, sometimes as commissions for works, many times as direct subsidies. In ...