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Vivian Perlis to be honored by Society of American Music

perlis_tapes-300x202Vivan Perlis, founder of Yale’s Oral History of American Music (OHAM), will be honored at a special concert held during the Society of American Music’s 42nd Annual Conference in Boston, Mass.

The concert, performed by pianist Alison D’Amato and soprano Tony Arnold, will notably feature songs by Charles Ives (the subject of Perlis’s first interviews), and early interviewee Virgil Thomson. The rest of the event will include American song repertoire by composers featured within the OHAM archives.

Since its founding by Perlis in 1969, OHAM has amassed a collection of over 2600 audio and video recordings of interviews with major musical figures, including Aaron Copland, John Cage, Steve Reich, Duke Ellington, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. It has grown to become one of the most predominant collections of such interviews in the United States. MORE

Published February 24, 2016
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Vivian Perlis named Educator of the Year by Musical America

Musical America Announces 2011 Awards for Anne-Sophie Mutter, Thomas Adès, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Simon Keenlyside, and Perlis

The publication Musical America, now in its third century as an indispensable resource for the international performing arts, today announced the winners of its annual Musical America Awards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts.

The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2011 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.

The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall on December 13.

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter was named Musician of the Year; Thomas Adès is Composer of the Year; Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos is Conductor of the Year; and Simon Keenlyside is Vocalist of the Year.

Vivian Perlis founded Yale University’s Oral History of American Music project 40 years ago. By now OHAM includes over 2,000 interviews with or about such major musicians as Ives, Copland, Bernstein, Cage, Ellington, Schuman, Carter, Adams, and Eubie Blake, among many others. Much of this material was used in her award-winning book on Ives and her two-volume collaboration with Copland on his autobiography. Her most recent book is Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington: An Oral History of American Music (Yale, 2005), written with Libby Van Cleve. In short, this project was nothing less than a revolution in the preservation of music history – all due to the foresight of this visionary woman.

Read the full announcement from Musical America HERE.

Published November 10, 2010
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Vivian Perlis announces retirement from Oral History of American Music project

Libby Van Cleve to succeed Perlis as director of OHAM

Vivian Perlis, the founder and Director of the Oral History of American Music (OHAM) project at Yale, has announced that she will step down as Director on June 30, 2010.

Perlis, a historian in American music, specializes in twentieth-century composers and is known for her publications, lectures, recording and film productions. She founded OHAM and developed it into a unique archive of recorded interviews with leading figures in American music.

In April of this year, in recognition of Perlis’s accomplishments, Dean Robert Blocker presented her with the prestigious Sanford Medal from the Yale School of Music. The School of Music also presented two concerts drawing on OHAM’s extensive collections, one on campus in Sprague Hall and the other in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Among Perlis’s publications are: Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History, which was awarded the Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society in 1975; and two volumes co-authored with Aaron Copland: Copland: 1900 Through 1942, which garnered a Deems Taylor/ASCAP award, and Copland: Since 1943. Perlis is co-author with Libby Van Cleve of the award winning book and CD publication, Composers’ Voice from Ives to Ellington, published by Yale University Press (2005). Among her productions are recordings of the music of Leo Ornstein and Charles Ives, and television documentaries on Ives, Eubie Blake, Aaron Copland, and John Cage.

Vivian Perlis received the Charles Ives Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972); a Grammy nomination for “Charles Ives 100th Anniversary” (1974); the Harvey Kantor Award for excellence in the field of oral history (1984); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987); and the Irving Lowens Award for distinguished scholarship in American Music from the Society for American Music (1991). With recognition of her leadership, the American Music Center awarded OHAM a Letter of Distinction (2004). Perlis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Music (2007) and was named an honorary member of the American Musicological Society (2008).


Published July 27, 2010
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Voices of American Music concert pays tribute to the Oral History of American Music project on its 40th anniversary

“…The world’s definitive archive of historical material on American music.”
– The New York Times

Vivian Perlis interviews Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein in Copland’s home.

The Yale School of Music presents Voices of American Music, a concert tribute to the legendary Oral History of American Music (OHAM) project at Yale. The concert will take place on Tuesday, April 6 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven) as part of the Chamber Music Society at Yale.

The works of some of America’s most important composers will be heard in a rare program that joins music with footage from OHAM’s archives. Founded by Vivian Perlis, one of the foremost historians of American music, OHAM is dedicated to collecting and preserving audio and video memoirs of notable figures in American music. The musicologist H. Wiley Hitchcock called OHAM “an incomparable resource, the most extensive ongoing oral history project in America.”


Published March 10, 2010
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