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Kim Perlak ’01MM appointed Assistant Chair of Guitar at Berklee

Kim Perlak On September 1, 2013, Kim Perlak ’01MM began her newly appointed role of Assistant Chair of Guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. With 1100 students and sixty faculty members, the guitar department at Berklee is perhaps the largest and most stylistically diverse in the world. Guitarists such as John Abercrombie, Bruce Cockburn, Al DiMeola, Kevin Eubanks, Bill Frisell, Emily Remler, John Scofield, Steve Vai, and Mark Whitfield are graduates of Berklee’s guitar program.

In addition to supervising this department, Perlak will be teaching and working with her colleagues to develop programs. MORE

Published September 23, 2013
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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.” MORE

Published April 24, 2012
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About the performers for the Guitar Extravaganza


Since they first met in 2000, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have shared a number of ideas, musical projects, and travels all over the world. In 2003 they formed a duo that has already performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America, and has been acclaimed everywhere – from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus – as one of the best ensembles ever heard. About one of their performances, The Washington Post wrote: “Extraordinarily sensitive, with effortless command and an almost unbearable delicacy of touch, the duo’s playing was nothing less than rapturous – profound and unforgettable musicianship of the highest order.”

In addition to classic, romantic and modern repertoire, Matteo and Lorenzo – joined by lutenist Massimo Lonardi – enjoy exploring the early literature for baroque guitar and theorbo. Together, Matteo and Lorenzo have recorded François de Fossa’s Three Quartets, op. 19 (Stradivarius), a CD of 17th century Italian music for baroque guitar, archlute and theorbo (La Suave Melodia, Stradivarius), Solaria, an anthology of 20th century masterpieces for two guitars (Pomegranate), the Duos Concertants by Antoine De Lhoyer (Naxos), a collection of chamber works by Mauro Giuliani (Amadeus), and a collection of 19th century pieces for two guitars (Noesis, Pomegranate), as well as a dozen solo recordings on the labels Naxos, Brilliant Records, Kookaburra, Mel Bay, and Stradivarius.

» SoloDuo will perform at 8 pm on March 24.

Zaira Meneses & Kim Perlak

Zaira Meneses is among the most exciting performers on the international classical guitar circuit. Her musicality and charisma have delighted audiences on three continents. Recent achievements include a special prize from Italy’s prestigious Academia Chigiana and the recording of several solo CDs available at her website. She has also aroused considerable interest through postings of live performances on Youtube. Zaira Meneses was born in Xalapa, Mexico. From an early age she showed great talent for music, studying both classical guitar and voice. She traveled widely, performing as well with the famed Orquesta de Guitarras. At the age of 17 and as the youngest contestant, she won first prize in an important national concerto competition. This success led to performances of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Concierto Madrigal for two guitars throughout Mexico. MORE

Published February 24, 2012
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Guitar Extravaganza announces lectures + panel discussions

Jeffrey McFadden

This year’s Yale Guitar Extravaganza, The Guitar: Today and Tomorrow, is pleased to announce its lineup of guest speakers. (Concert performers for this year’s Extravaganza are listed here.)

The Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza will take place Saturday, March 24, 2012. A full schedule is available here.

The day’s first panel discussion will address The Future of Classical Guitar Pedagogy. The panelists will be Scott Cmiel, Daniel Corr, Jeffrey McFadden, Kim Perlak, and Kevin Vigil, moderated by Benjamin Verdery. This panel discussion will take place at 12:30 pm in Sudler Recital Hall (located in WL Harkness Hall, adjacent to Sprague Hall).

Master luthier Garrett Lee, in conjunction with Benjamin Verdery, will lead a lecture/demonstration on What to look for in a classical guitar. Held in the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue), this talk begins at 4:15 pm.

Jeffrey McFadden will give a lecture on Fretboard Harmony, based on his book Fretboard Harmony: Common Practice Harmony on the Guitar (Productions Musicales d’Oz, 2010). His talk will begin at 4:45 pm in Sudler Recital Hall.

About the Lecturers & Panelists MORE

Published February 8, 2012
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Seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza announces lineup

March 24 full of concerts, master classes, workshops, & more

The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the line-up for the seventh semiannual Guitar Extravaganza. The event, which will take place on Saturday, March 24, 2012, is directed by celebrated guitarist Benjamin Verdery, the longstanding chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music.

The Extravaganza brings together guitar lovers for a day of concerts, lectures, exhibits, master classes, and other events. Performances will feature both students and established artists. Events will take place mainly in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven), as well as in Sudler Hall (in W.L. Harkness Hall, 100 Wall Street) and the Collection of Musical Instruments (15 Hillhouse Avenue).

This year’s featured artists include the fast-rising duet SoloDuo (pictured at left), the adventurous Dither Guitar Quartet (pictured below), and classical guitarists Kim Perlak and Zaira Meneses.

The Dither Guitar Quartet plays an eclectic mix of experimental music for electric guitars. Their concert, which begins at 2 pm, will feature their signature blend of composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation.

Kim Perlak, a School of Music graduate, specializes in American music (classical, jazz, and traditional) and has been featured on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. Zaira Meneses, a Mexican-born guitarist hailed as “stunning” (Syracuse News), was recently praised for her “fluid, colorful style” by the New York Times. The two join together at 6 pm in a concert featuring music of the Americas.

SoloDuo, the acclaimed Italian duo comprised of Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli, will perform the event’s final concert at 8 pm. “Do not miss a chance to hear them,” commands the New York Concert Review. “It is hard to say what left more of an impression: their remarkable blend, their sublime artistry, or their impeccable technique.”

The Guitar Extravaganza will also offer events such as workshops, panel discussions, and master classes. A complete schedule is available at music.yale.edu/events/guitar. MORE

Published January 19, 2012
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alumniVentures grant to Kim Perlak ’01MM keeps on giving

Kim Perlak ’01MM

Guitarist and professor Kim Perlak ’01MM received an alumniVentures grant in 2009-10 and wrote recently to tell YSM of the project’s successful continuation. alumniVentures, the initiative supporting efforts to advance the cause of music, began in 2008-09 and has given three rounds of grants to YSM alumni.

Wrote Perlak, “My music history and performance students at Concordia University were so inspired to volunteer in my Yale grant project that I have created a series called Music-History-Service. This annual project will encourage both students and faculty to explore the history of the music they love, and through it, make a difference in the present.”

Perlak’s latest project, “Ben and I Play For Peace,” has attracted national press. Three “Ben and I Play for Peace”  concerts will take place on April 3, 2011 at 3 pm in Austin, Tex.; Denver, Colo.; and Sarasota, Fla. The concerts will present the world premiere of a work by Benjamin Verdery, a faculty member at the Yale School of Music. Proceeds will benefit a program called Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids.

Ben Werdegar, a 13-year-old guitarist from California, has pledged to raise $1 million in partnership with Brad Blauser (a CNN Hero) to purchase wheelchairs for disabled children in Iraq. Funds raised in the April events will add to Ben’s personal total of $19,000 – which he raised by playing at his neighborhood coffee shop in San Francisco.


Published March 28, 2011
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Yale Guitar Extravaganza VI: From Baroque to Electric


Featured recital by acclaimed guitarist Eliot Fisk

The Yale School of Music presents the Guitar Extravaganza VI on Saturday, March 7 in Sprague Memorial Hall and Leigh Hall. Under the artistic direction of Benjamin Verdery, renowned guitarist and longstanding chair of the guitar department at the Yale School of Music, the Extravaganza brings together guitarists for a day of concerts, workshops, lectures, exhibits, master classes, and a panel discussion. In keeping with the theme, From Baroque to Electric, the event will cover topics from the Baroque to the electric, from composing to body mapping, and will include guitars from period instruments to electric guitars. Performances will feature both students and established artists.

Highlights include Jerry Willard performing on guitars from the Baroque and Classical periods, as well as giving a master class on repertoire for those instruments. Kim Perlak and Kevin Vigil will speak on the guitar’s role in education. A panel discussion will feature composers from Yale’s esteemed faculty, moderated by Benjamin Verdery. The renowned young guitarists Seth Josel and Gyan Riley will pair up for a 5:30 pm performance. Capping off the extravaganza is an 8 pm benefit appearance by one of the world’s most eminent guitarists, Yale graduate and former faculty member Eliot Fisk.

Registration for the day’s events is $40, $30 for students and members of the Classical Guitar Societies of Connecticut and New York. Groups of six or more receive a 20% discount. Concert passes, valid for the 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm concerts, are $15, $12 for groups of six or more, $10 for students and members of the CCGS and NYCGS.

guitar_logoCheck out the complete schedule for the Guitar Extravaganza, along with biographies of presenters and performers. This event is supported by the D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts.


Yale School of Music presents
Yale Guitar Extravaganza VI: From Baroque to Electric
Date: March 7, 2009
Venue: Sprague Hall, 470 College Street, and Leigh Hall, 435 College Street
Tickets: Registration (includes admission to all events) $40, $30 for students and members of the Classical Guitar Societies of Connecticut and New York, 20% discount for groups of six or more.
Concert passes (for admission to the concerts at 5:30 pm and 8 pm) are $15, $12 for groups of six or more, $10 for students and members of the Classical Guitar Societies of Connecticut and New York.
Phone/web: 203 432-4158 • music.yale.edu • music.yale.edu/events

Published February 27, 2009
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