Perlis, Vivian

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Perlis, Vivian

Perlis, Vivian, American musicologist and harpist; b. N.Y., April 26,1928. She was educated at the Univ. of Mich. (B.Mus., 1949; M.Mus., 1952), and then pursued postgraduate studies in harp at the Philadelphia Academy of Music (1953–54) and in musicology at Columbia Univ. (1962–64). She taught at Berkshire Coll. (1954–56), the Westport School of Music (1957–66), and Norwalk Community Coll. (1964–66). From 1966 she was active as a freelance harpist. In 1967 she joined the staff of Yale Univ., where she was a reference librarian in its music library until 1972, and where she served as director of the Ives oral history project from 1968 to 1971. In 1972 she became a senior research associate at its school of music, where she founded and subsequently served as director of its valuable Oral History, American Music project. From 1972 to 1974 and again from 1991 she was a lecturer in the school of music and American studies. She also was a lecturer at the Univ. of Southern Calif, in Los Angeles (1974–75), a visiting senior research fellow at Brooklyn Coll. (1976–77), and a visiting lecturer at Wesleyan Univ. (1992–93). In 1971 she received the Charles Ives Award from the National Inst. of Arts and Letters, in 1975 the Otto Kinkeledy Award from the American Musicological Soc, in 1985 the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award, in 1987 a Guggenheim fellowship, and in 1991 the Irving Lo wens Award from the Sonneck Soc. In 1993 she was made a member of the Conn. Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to her contributions to various publications, Perlis was co–producer and writer of the television documentaries “Memories of Eubie” (on Eubie Blake; 1980), “Aaron Copland, A Self Portrait” (1985), and “John Cage: I Have Nothing to Say and I am Saying It” (1990).


Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History (1974); with H. Wiley Hitchcock, An Ives Celebration: Papers and Panels of the Charles Ives Centennial Festival–Conference (1977); Two Men for Modern Music (1978); The Charles Ives Papers (1983); with A. Copland, Copland: 1900 through 1942 (1984) and Copland: Since 1943 (1989).

—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire