Kinhaven Music School announced that an endowed scholarship has been created in memory of former Kinhaven student and award-winning musical theater composer and lyricist Michael Friedman. The endowment, known as the Michael Friedman Scholarship, will help cover tuition and other costs to increase diversity among the Kinhaven student body.
“Endowing this scholarship in Michael’s memory made a lot of sense to Michael’s family, colleagues, and friends,” said Michael’s father John Friedman, “because it combines one of Michael’s longtime concerns – increasing diversity in the music and theater world – with his longtime passion for the musical experience Kinhaven makes possible for young people.”
Kinhaven Co-executive Director Tony Mazzocchi thanked the Friedman family and other donors on behalf of the entire Kinhaven community. “We are very grateful for this important gift and will put it to work immediately to help make this transformative musical experience accessible to even more qualified students who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend,” Mazzocchi said.
Michael studied piano at Kinhaven from 1989 to 1991 and was a staff member for several years in the mid-1990s. In a recent interview, Michael said he wrote his first compositions at Kinhaven. “The first was a deeply embarrassing orchestral work called ‘Overture de la vie et de la mort,’ or something to that effect,” he said. Michael said that at Kinhaven, “I learned to explore the repertoire in ways I’d never understood before. I started writing music and was encouraged. I learned Bach chorales and the orchestral repertoire and about collaboration and how to enjoy the process of working on a piece as much as the performance.”
Michael, a prolific composer and lyricist, wrote the music and lyrics to the 2010 musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which the New York Times characterized as “sharp, sexy and satirical.” His collaborator on that show, Alex Timbers, said, “If you look at how diverse his shows were and how prolific he was, you see what a restless mind he had. He would write shows where he was quoting Kurt Weill one moment, Sondheim the next, and then John Philip Sousa.” Michael won an Obie award in 2007 for Sustained Excellence in Music.
Michael died in September 2017 in New York City at age 41 and is deeply missed by his family, friends, and the entire Kinhaven community. Donations to the Michael Friedman Scholarship fund may be made by contacting .