Skip directly to content
Browse by:
  • Friday, January 30, 2009
    George Perle, Pulitzer Prize–Winning Composer of "12-Tone Tonality," Dies at 93

    Pulitzer Prize–winning composer George Perle died on Friday, January 23, 2009, at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.

    Perle, often considered one of the most lyrical of a new generation of atonal composers, wrote prolifically, including symphonic, chamber, vocal, and piano works. He was best known for his Serenade No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra (1983), Six Etudes for Piano (1973–76), and his four Wind Quintets (the Quintet No. 4 was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1986). Perle often referred to his style of writing as "12-tone tonality."

    In 1968, Perle co-founded the Alban Berg Society with Igor Stravinsky and Hans F. Redlich, and later published the definitive The Operas of Alban Berg.

    Pianist Richard Goode, in his liner notes to a Nonesuch recording of Perle works, wrote:

    There is little of the confessional and nothing of the occult in George Perle's music. In its sobriety and playfulness, its rhythmic unpredictability, its delicate balance of harmonic and contrapuntal energies, it often brings Haydn to mind. The free flow of ideas can seem as witty and allusive as good conversation ... and there is a constant pleasure for the listener in following the unexpected twists and turns of the narrative, and actually hearing the design take shape. Whatever the emotional intensities expressed, one feels a language has been found that is exactly suited to its expressive requirements.

    The Nonesuch recording, released in 1985, features Perle's Serenade No. 3, Ballade, and Concertino for Piano, Winds, and Timpani and features Richard Goode and the Music Today Ensemble conducted by Gerard Schwarz. 

    Journal Articles:Artist News

Enjoy This Post?

Share This Post

George Perle, Pulitzer Prize–Winning Composer of "12-Tone Tonality," Dies at 93

Browse by:
nonesuch's picture
on January 30, 2009 - 10:16am
Article Type: 
Publish date: 
Friday, January 30, 2009 - 15:00
Excerpt: 

Pulitzer Prize–winning composer George Perle died on Friday, January 23, 2009, at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. Perle, often considered one of the most lyrical of a new generation of atonal composers, wrote prolifically, including symphonic, chamber, vocal, and piano works. Perle often referred to his style of writing as "12-tone tonality." Richard Goode, in his liner notes to a Nonesuch recording of Perle works, wrote of the composer's music: "In its sobriety and playfulness, its rhythmic unpredictability, its delicate balance of harmonic and contrapuntal energies, it often brings Haydn to mind ... Whatever the emotional intensities expressed, one feels a language has been found that is exactly suited to its expressive requirements."

Copy: 

Pulitzer Prize–winning composer George Perle died on Friday, January 23, 2009, at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.

Perle, often considered one of the most lyrical of a new generation of atonal composers, wrote prolifically, including symphonic, chamber, vocal, and piano works. He was best known for his Serenade No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra (1983), Six Etudes for Piano (1973–76), and his four Wind Quintets (the Quintet No. 4 was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1986). Perle often referred to his style of writing as "12-tone tonality."

In 1968, Perle co-founded the Alban Berg Society with Igor Stravinsky and Hans F. Redlich, and later published the definitive The Operas of Alban Berg.

Pianist Richard Goode, in his liner notes to a Nonesuch recording of Perle works, wrote:

There is little of the confessional and nothing of the occult in George Perle's music. In its sobriety and playfulness, its rhythmic unpredictability, its delicate balance of harmonic and contrapuntal energies, it often brings Haydn to mind. The free flow of ideas can seem as witty and allusive as good conversation ... and there is a constant pleasure for the listener in following the unexpected twists and turns of the narrative, and actually hearing the design take shape. Whatever the emotional intensities expressed, one feels a language has been found that is exactly suited to its expressive requirements.

The Nonesuch recording, released in 1985, features Perle's Serenade No. 3, Ballade, and Concertino for Piano, Winds, and Timpani and features Richard Goode and the Music Today Ensemble conducted by Gerard Schwarz. 

featuredimage: 
George Perle, "Serenade No. 3" [cover]

Related Posts

  • Friday, September 21, 2018
    Friday, September 21, 2018

    The acclaimed trio Mountain Man's first album in eight years, Magic Ship, is out now. The record includes eleven originals plus interpretations of songs by Ted Lucas and Michael Hurley, and a traditional hymn—"intimate, close-harmony songs that tap into an ageless essence of traditional ballads and lullabies as they contemplate companionship, family, love and death," says the New York Times. Nonesuch Store CD and vinyl orders include an exclusive signed print while supplies last; bundle options include an exclusive tote bag. The trio will be at Rough Trade in Brooklyn on September 24 and will tour the US this fall.

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist NewsReviews
  • Thursday, September 20, 2018
    Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Fleet Foxes will release a special limited-edition collection to mark the tenth anniversary of their debut album, entitled First Collection 2006–2009, on Nonesuch in Europe and Sub Pop for the rest of the world, on November 9. The package features content spanning the early days of Fleet Foxes' career, including the self-titled full-length debut album on 12" vinyl, as well as the Sun Giant EP on 10" vinyl and the first vinyl releases of both the very limited-edition, previously only self-released The Fleet Foxes EP on 10" and B-Sides & Rarities on 10". The special edition will also be released on CD and digitally. Watch a trailer featuring archival footage here.

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist News
[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On