Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

George Perle

Renowned American Composer

California State University, Sacramento

George Perle, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, is one of the leading American composers of this century. His works have been featured in symphony programs across the nation, including the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Center, and have been performed by the BBC, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, and Julliard String Quartet. The Seattle Symphony has scheduled an all-Perle CD.

The only person to have been invited as a composer-in-residence three times at the Tanglewood Music Center, Mr. Perle also served in that capacity with the San Francisco Symphony. In 1986, he was a Grammy Award nominee for this recording of Serenade No. 3, choreographed for the American Ballet Theatre under the title Enough Said. His recently released piano Concerto No. 2 has received glowing reviews.

A native of New Jersey, he began his early music education in Chicago. He earned a doctorate at New York University. Professor emeritus at CUNY, he has held teaching positions and guest professorships at Yale, Columbia and the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He was among the first American composers to recognize and incorporate the revolutionary transformation in the language of music embodied in the work of the "Second Vienna School" in the early years of this century. However, from the start, his own work as a composer and theorist represented a radical reinterpretation. In his first published article in 1914, he presented a fundamental critique of Schoenberg's twelve-tone method, which he saw as the first step toward a new tonality, rather than as a special technique of atonal composition. Author of numerous books and publications, Mr. Perle contends that disparate styles of post-diatonic music share common structural elements that collectively imply a new tonality.

In recognition of his extraordinary talent and contributions to both the theory and composition of music, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Sacramento are proud to confer upon George Perle the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.