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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Kim Perlak '01MM releases CD of American music

Kim Perlak ’01MM has released Common Ground, a disc of new American music for solo classical guitar.

The CD was recorded March of 2011 in Sprague Hall with engineer Eugene Kimball, the School of Music's recording engineer. All of the music on the recording is American, new, and written by living composers.

The recording features works by two Yale School of Music composers: faculty member Benjamin Verdery, and Robert Honstein (MMA). Other pieces on the disc are by Andrew York, Bryan Johnason, David Leisner, and Perlak herself.

The recording, which was released on April 2, is available on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. Cactus Cafe, the legendary venue in Austin, Texas (operated by local NPR station KUT 90.5), hosted the CD release concert.

Writes Perlak: "The music on this recording is one of place. Each of these composers has found his voice in a combination of the grooves, lyricism, sensibilities, and techniques from the American and classical guitar traditions. Their unique and distinctive sounds have the ability to tap into emotional and personal memory, and at the same time, reflect the broader American experience.

"As an interpreter, I was drawn to each of these pieces both sonically and emotionally. In the time I’ve played them, each work has come to feel like an old or new friend. To varying degrees, I’ve had the privilege to know each composer and am grateful for the personal insight and artistic room they have contributed to my playing. It has been a joy to find within each work a common root, a common feeling - a common ground."

About Kim Perlak

Kim Perlak's playing was praised by the Austin-American Statesman as “thoughtful, enchanting, vivid...a songwriter’s circle without the lyrics,” and by another Austin reviewer as “moving... the most patriotic thing I’ve experienced in many months.”

Perlak’s versatile and inclusive approach to the instrument embraces new composition, scholarship, and public service. Her performances of new classical works and collaborations with jazz and traditional players have been featured on National Public Radio, at the Yale Guitar Extravaganza, on CBS Sunday Morning, and in concert halls across the nation. Her work combining performance, American music history, and outreach has been funded through grants from The Carolina Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music, The Center for African American Southern Music, and the Yale Alumni Ventures program. Kim is the co-founder of the concert series “Ben & I Play for Peace”, which raises funds for the Wounded Warrior Project and Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids. In its first year, this project was honored by the PBS program “From the Top” as part of their Arts Leadership series and was officially recognized by the House of Representatives. The 2012 concerts take place on April 22nd in Austin, Seattle, and Sarasota.

Kim has served on the faculty, written curriculum, and directed programs for Concordia University-TX, The National Guitar Workshop, Austin Community College, and the Educational Outreach Program of the Austin Classical Guitar Society. She holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (DMA ’08), Yale University School of Music (MM ’01), Stetson University (BM ’98).