Remembering Richard A. Freling (1932-2020)

Richard A. Freling

The Dallas Symphony Association is saddened to share the news that former Chairman of the Board of Governors Richard Alan Freling, a loving father and grandfather, passed away Monday morning, September 28, 2020, at Clements University Hospital in Dallas. He was 88. He is survived by his five children and four grandchildren. The Dallas Symphony Association’s thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. 

Freling’s accomplishments were many, both professionally and civically. As a lawyer, he was considered one of the most esteemed nationally in his chosen field of tax and mergers and acquisitions. Throughout his life, he was committed to his community and took leadership positions in many civic organizations including the arts, both in Dallas and elsewhere. He traveled the world and had a passion for photography.

With a love of classical music, Richard began his involvement with the DSO after his move to Dallas from Houston. His commitment to the organization increased over time. He served as Chairman of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Governors starting in 1990, and his tenure coincided with the opening of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center; he held the chairmanship during the first full season of the orchestra in its iconic home. In that role, he initiated a major endowment campaign and the search that led to the appointment of a new music director to succeed Maestro Eduardo Mata.

Last year, while being interviewed for a Dallas Symphony archival project Freling relayed a fond memory of sitting in the orchestra the day before the first concert. He remembers hearing the workers continuing to drill and hammer while the orchestra rehearsed. He recalls watching Isaac Stern walk out on stage, pick up his violin and begin to play. “It was like he was playing right next to me,” he said. “And I remember thinking, ‘my goodness this is going to be a fantastic venue for the orchestra.’”  

Freling remained active with the Dallas Symphony after his chairmanship ended. He was frequently at concerts and was a member of the Board of Directors. During his interview, he shared that “the orchestra is a great family. It’s fun to come back to the hall and to this family – it’s a feeling of giving back to this community. I think we all get out of it more than we put into it.”

Dallas Symphony Ross Perot President & CEO Kim Noltemy remarks, “I feel so fortunate that I had the chance to spend time with Richard during Council of Past Chairs meetings and Dallas Symphony Foundation board meetings. I talked with him over the phone several times recently. He was a gentleman and a true music lover, and the orchestra was so grateful for his involvement for more than three decades.”