William Perry
Composer, Producer
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"Something special! Musical magic with its sense of wonder intact. The spell never breaks. It's love and fun and wonderful."

—CBS Television


CONTACTS
Publisher
Trobriand Music Company
35 Church Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Tel: (413) 644-0090
Orchestration & Music Preparation
Robert Nowak
Robert Nowak & Associates
Tel: (917) 841-7431
VIDEO: MEET THE COMPOSER
AUDIO AND VIDEO TRACKS
BIOGRAPHY
William Perry has led an unusually varied creative life as a composer, producer, director and lyricist. Among his productions are six definitive films based on the major works of Mark Twain, which won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. (His music for these films is available on Naxos 8.570200.)  The Broadway musical, Wind in the Willows, starring Nathan Lane, for which he wrote the music and co-authored the lyrics, was nominated for three Tony Awards. There is an Emmy amidst the many other awards for his more than seventy programs produced for American Public Television, and his concertos and other orchestral pieces are performed throughout the world.
Born in Elmira, New York, he attended Harvard University and studied with Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson. His concert and film music has been performed by many orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Detroit Symphony and the symphonic orchestras of Cincinnati, Minnesota, Montreal, Hartford, and Sydney, Australia as well as the Vienna Symphony, the Rome Philharmonic, the Slovak Philharmonic, the RTÉ National Symphony of Ireland and other orchestras in Europe.
Perry is widely credited for playing a significant role in the revival of interest in films of the silent era, and Naxos Records has devoted several CDs to the orchestral scores he has written for the greatest of those films. For twelve years he was the music director and composer-in-residence at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he composed and performed as a pianist more than two hundred scores for the Museum's silent film collection. He then provided the scores for the now-legendary television series, The Silent Years (1971, 1975) starring Orson Welles and Lillian Gish, winning an Emmy Award.
For three years (1976-1978) he produced and scored a poetry series for PBS called Anyone for Tennyson? starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Claire Bloom, William Shatner and Vincent Price among others. He later developed and produced the four-part DVD series, The Poetry Hall of Fame, which he also hosted.
Perry's dramatizations of the works of Mark Twain have included a staged musical biography, Mark Twain: The Musical, which ran for ten summers (1987–1995) in Elmira, NY and Hartford, CT.  PBS produced a television version of the show. LML Music issued a CD of the complete original cast recording.
His most prominent symphonic compositions include the Jamestown Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2007), written to observe the 400th anniversary of the first permanent colony in America in Jamestown, Virginia. It was released on CD by Naxos Records with Yehuda Hanani as soloist and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Eddins. His popular Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra was written for and recorded by Armando Ghitalla with the composer conducting. A Naxos recording called Music for Great Films of the Silent Era includes his Three Rhapsodies for Piano and Orchestra with Michael Chertock, the Gemini Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, written for the Albek Duo, and the whimsical orchestral suite, Six Title Themes in Search of a Movie. Paul Phillips conducted, and orchestrations were provided by Robert Nowak.
His latest Naxos recording, a second volume of Music for Great Films of the Silent Era, features a song-suite for mezzo soprano and orchestra entitled Silent Film Heroines. It celebrates eight leading actresses of the silent film era and features the brilliant Canadian mezzo soprano, Wallis Giunta. On the same CD is a unique Concerto for Ophicleide and Orchestra with Australian soloist Nick Byrne, a new recording of the Summer Nocturne with flute virtuoso Timothy Hutchins, and a piece commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One based on Perry's score for the D.W. Griffith film, Hearts of the World. This last selection includes Wallis Giunta and baritone John Brancy, with participation again by Paul Phillips as conductor and Robert Nowak as orchestrator.
Perry's next orchestral recording project will include his Wind in the Willows Ballet Suite and a concert overture called Swordplay! based on his scores for the swashbuckling films of Douglas Fairbanks.

REVIEWS
"Perry is not only a natural tunesmith, he has a feeling for the folksy American atmosphere essential for this repertoire … full of ear-tickling invention and glowing orchestral colour."
Penguin Guide to Classical Music
"He is a supreme melodist with the gift for making just the right harmonic gesture at crucial moments to catapult an already attractive tune into the affective atmosphere."
Fanfare
"A cinematic, totally approachable style painted with colourful orchestration and an appealing programme."
The Strad
"A delightful divertissement of a piece, light and frothy, with good tunes and sparkling orchestrations. It communicates, and that’s half the battle these days!"
MusicWeb International

DISCOGRAPHY
Music for Great Films of the Silent Era
Gemini Concerto
The Silent Years
Six Title Themes in Search of a Movie
Albek Duo, violin/viola, piano
Michael Chertock, piano
Helen Kearns, soprano
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland)
Paul Phillips, conductor
Naxos 8.572507
Music for Great Films of the Silent Era II
Silent Film Heroines
Summer Nocturne
Brass from the Past – Ophicleide Concerto
Hearts of the World
Wallis Giunta, mezzo soprano
John Brancy, baritone
Timothy Hutchins, flute
Nick Byrne, ophicleide
Michael Chertock, piano/organ
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland)
Paul Phillips, conductor
Naxos 8.573105
The Innocents Abroad and other Mark Twain films
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Pudd'nhead Wilson
Life on the Mississippi
The Innocents Abroad
The Private History of a Campaign That Failed
The Mysterious Stranger
Richard Hayman, harmonica
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Rome Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Vienna Boys’ Choir
William Perry, conductor
Naxos 8.570200