George Perle

Biography

Born: May 6, 1915; Bayonne, NJ  
George Perle is an American composer who forged his own highly personal style from Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone system. Using some of the basic features from serial methodology, Perle combined them with certain elements associated with tonal music to fashion what has been called his "twelve-tone modal method." His Cello Concerto (1966) and Second Serenade (1968) are notable examples of this style. Perle also wrote works in what he viewed as a Read more freer style, that still incorporated twelve-tone techniques, as in his 1958 String Quintet.

Both of Perle's parents were East European Jewish immigrants, neither with a background in music, his father being a housepainter and his mother a housewife. They took their family to Indiana in George's early childhood. Up to the age of seven, he had received no exposure to classical music. A relative from Russia, who was a good amateur pianist, then moved into their household and introduced him to serious music. While the experience was a profound one, it temporarily left the young Perle with a false impression: his female cousin had conveyed the impression that all music had been composed and nothing new was needed. His mother, however, assured him he could write his own music, and Perle later declared that this was a critical revelation, one that had helped to develop his creative side.

Perle advanced quickly in his childhood and teen years. He would go on to study composition with Wesley LaViolette from 1934 to 1938 at DePaul University. Following graduation, he took instruction from Ernst Krenek (1939 - 1941) and earned a master's degree at Chicago's American Conservatory of Music during that period. He would earn a doctorate at New York University in 1956. In 1949, he joined the faculty of the University of Louisville, where he would remain until 1957.

It was in 1937 that Perle was first exposed to Schoenberg's twelve-tone system, from examination of the score to Berg's Lyric Suite. Perle wrote some solo instrumental works during his student years: the Little Suite (1939) and Modal Suite (1940), both for piano, the Viola Sonata (1942) and the Three Sonatas for Clarinet (1943). His Rhapsody for orchestra, came in 1953, and the String Quintet five years later, shortly after he had taken a faculty post in composition at the University of California at Davis (1957). In 1960, he had composed his Fifth String Quartet and the following year his incidental music to Aristophanes' The Birds.

Perle joined the faculty of Queens College of the City of New York in 1961. In the early 1960s, Perle became a champion of the music of Alban Berg, attempting to complete the opera, Lulu, a task eventually taken on by Frederic Cerha. In 1968, Perle founded, with Stravinsky and Redlich, the Alban Berg Society. In the decade of the 1970s, Perle produced significant works for piano (Suite in C, 1970), Concertino for Piano, Winds and Timpani (1979), and other works in a variety of genres.

In 1985, Perle retired from his teaching post. The following year, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his Fourth Wind Quintet, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship. He remained very active, serving as composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Symphony in 1989 - 1991. (He had been composer-in-residence three times earlier for the Tanglewood Festival: 1967, 1980, and 1987.) Later works include his Piano Concerto No. 2 (1991) and Transcendental Modulations (1993). In 1994, he served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of Music at New York University. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 32 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Gerard Schwarz Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503294 Release Date: 10/13/2017   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Webern,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Thelma Handy,  Kenneth Munday,  David Shifrin,  Richard Todd  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Gunther Schuller,  Jason K. Fettig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony  ... 
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  • 2.
    Leon Fleisher:  All The Things You Are
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9429 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Leon Kirchner,  Earl Wild,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
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  • 3.
    George Perle: The String Quartets, Vol. 1 / Daedalus Quartet
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9398 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Daedalus String Quartet
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  • 4.
    Francesca Anderegg
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1361 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Arnold Schoenberg,  George Perle,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Francesca Anderegg,  Brent Funderburk
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  • 5.
    Modern American Bass / Black, McDonald
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80722 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Iadone,  Halsey Stevens,  Quincy Porter,  Jerome Moross  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Black,  John McDonald
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  • 6.
    Bassoonmusic / Kolkay, Nguyen
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637784703 Release Date: 05/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle,  Judah E. Adashi,  Paul Moravec,  Russell Platt  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Kolkay,  Alexandra Nguyen
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  • 7.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 441 Release Date: 03/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Schwantner,  Shulamit Ran,  Joan Tower,  Charles Wuorinen  ... 
    Performer:  Laura Flax,  André Emelianoff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Da Capo Chamber Players
    CD: $13.99
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  • 8.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 387 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle,  Harold Blumenfeld
    Performer:  Kim Kashkashian,  Patrick Mason,  David Starobin,  Gordon Gottlieb  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York String Quartet
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  • 9.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 403 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle
    Performer:  Bethany Beardslee,  Morey Ritt,  George Perle
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  • 10.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 306 Release Date: 10/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Wuorinen,  Stefan Wolpe,  Yehudi Wyner,  George Perle
    Performer:  Robert Miller
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  • 11.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 212 Release Date: 07/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wallingford Riegger,  Ursula Mamlock,  Meyer Kupferman,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Samuel Baron
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  • 12.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 148 Release Date: 05/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle,  Leslie Bassett
    Performer:  Walter Trampler,  Charles Russo,  Douglas Nordli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts String Quartet
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  • 13.
    Recital Of New Music
    Label: Imaginary Chicago   Catalog: 5637609495 Release Date: 03/02/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Whittenberg,  William Sydeman,  Kenneth Gaburo,  Ben Johnston  ... 
    Performer:  Bertram Turetzky,  Patrick Purswell,  Shirley Sudock,  Josef Marx  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Meier
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  • 14.
    Retrospectacular - Bach, Beethoven, Reicha, Villa-lobos, Etc / Dorian Wind Quintet
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 513 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Perle,  Lee Hoiby,  Bruce Adolphe,  Billy Childs  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dorian Wind Quintet
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    Ostinato Fantastico - Dubois, Et Al / Depaul Wind Ensemble
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 889 Release Date: 01/02/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Max Dubois,  Marco Putz,  Carlos Surinach,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Julie DeRoche,  Rami Solomonow
    Conductor:  Donald DeRoche
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  DePaul University Wind Ensemble
    CD: $16.99
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  • 16.
    A Retrospective - George Perle
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9214 Release Date: 11/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Perle
    Performer:  Horacio Gutierrez,  Steven Dibner,  Shirley Perle,  Christopher Oldfather  ... 
    Conductor:  Harold Rosenbaum,  Joseph Silverstein,  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Virtuoso Singers,  DePaul String Quartet,  Utah Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 17.
    Copland, Sessions, Perle / Leon Botstein
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80631 Release Date: 05/31/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Roger Sessions,  George Perle,  Bernard Rands
    Conductor:  Leon Botstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Ragtimes & Serenades / DeRoche, DePaul U Wind Ensemble
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 568 Release Date: 04/29/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Werner Henze,  Thom Ritter George,  Ned Rorem,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Mary Stolper,  Mary Sauer
    Conductor:  Donald DeRoche
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  DePaul University Wind Ensemble
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  • 19.
    Thirteen Ways / Eighth Blackbird
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 67 Release Date: 04/22/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Albert,  David Schober,  George Perle,  Joan Tower
    Performer:  Matt Albert,  Molly Alicia Barth,  Lisa Kaplan,  Matthew Duvall  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
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  • 20.
    Childhood Memories - Music For Younger Pianists / Arzruni
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80590 Release Date: 09/24/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Amy Marcy Beach,  Roger Sessions,  Louise Talma,  Lou Harrison  ... 
    Performer:  Sahan Arzruni
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  • 21.
    New Music For The Piano - Dahl, Babbit, Perle, Et Al / Helps
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 874 Release Date: 05/29/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Alexander,  Earl Kim,  Mark Brunswick,  Joseph Prostakoff  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Helps
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Perle: Sinfonietta Ii, Etc / Gerard Schwarz, David Epstein
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 292 Release Date: 10/05/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Perle
    Performer:  Michael Boriskin
    Conductor:  David Epstein,  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 23.
    New American Scene Iii / London, Cleveland Chamber Symphony
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 342 Release Date: 08/24/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Salvatore Martirano,  William Duckworth,  George Perle,  Donald Erb
    Conductor:  Edwin London
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Chamber Symphony
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  • 24.
    Exultation - Adler, Evett, Perle, Et Al / Bradford Gowen
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80304 Release Date: 06/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederic Goossen,  Wendell Keeney,  Henry Cowell,  George Perle  ... 
    Performer:  Bradford Gowen
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  • 25.
    Tribute To Soprano Bethany Beardslee - Winham, Perle, Et Al
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 724 Release Date: 01/21/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philip Norman Batstone,  George Perle,  Malcolm Peyton,  Godfrey Winham
    Performer:  Victoria Bond,  Bethany Beardslee,  Morey Ritt,  Malcolm Peyton  ... 
    Conductor:  John Dare
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  UCLA Chamber Ensemble
    CD: $17.99
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