Interviews & Features

Kim Perlak Interview 

Berklee guitar assistant chair talks about her connection to Andrés Segovia and more

By David Sands
October 13, 2017

The versatile Dr. Kim Perlak, Assistant Chair of the Guitar Department at the Berklee College of Music, is the kind of musician who’s comfortable in two different worlds, respected for both her knowledge of traditions and her embrace of newer classical works.

She’s been featured on National Public Radio, at the Yale Guitar Extravaganza, and at Boston GuitarFest, performing contemporary classical compositions and teaming up with traditional and jazz musicians. And she’s received funding for her creative efforts blending performance American music history, and outreach by the the Center for African American Southern Music and Yale Alumni Ventures. She’s also known for her work bringing together music with public service as a collaborator on the Ben & I Play for Peace project, a series of concerts that raised more than $25,000 for causes like Wheelchairs For Iraqi Kids, the Wounded Warrior Project and  the Austin, Texas-based Veterans Guitar Project.

A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (DMA), Yale University School of Music (MM), and Stetson University (BM), and the holder of a certificate of completion from the Harvard University Management Development Program (2013), she been teaching at Berklee for the last four years. In addition to teaching at the institution she’s also spends her time collaborating musically with other faculty members and playing in a duo with her colleague and slide guitar maestro David Tronzo.

Perlak’s recordings include Common Ground, a collection of new compositions by five American composers and Yong, Kim, & Cathy at Yale, an album combining classical and rock sensibilities featuring a flute, cello guitar trio made up of herself, Yong Clark and Cathy Anderson. She’s also the author of the 2016 book, Classical Technique for the Modern Guitarist. FGPO’s Jon Liebman spoke with Perlak about her many musical passions, the Berklee guitar faculty, her civic work and more during a recent visit to Berklee.

Watch our interview with Kim!