Dr. Mark Perlman became music director in Fall of 2013, having been guest conductor twice in the 2012-13 season. He has been music director and conductor of the Willamette Falls Symphony Orchestra (in Oregon City) since 2001, and is also the associate conductor for the Hillsboro Symphony (Oregon). He has conducted other orchestras in the Portland area as well as in Arizona, California, Nevada, Ohio, and Washington, and internationally conducted orchestras in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania. He studied conducting at the University of Arizona with Dr. Leonard Pearlman, and other conducting teachers include Jorma Panula, Petr Gribanov, Leonid Kochmar, Sian Edwards, Diane Wittry, Adrian Gnam, Oleg Proskurnya, Alexander Polishchuck, Markus Lehtinen, Murry Sidlin, Daniel Lewis, Don Thulean, and John Farrer.
Dr. Perlman won honorable mention in the 2011 International Conducting Workshop and Competition in Macon, Georgia. In 2011, he was also a finalist for the American prize in both orchestral conducting (community orchestra) and programming. He was featured on Romanian television for his September 11, 2006 concert in honor of victims of terrorism. Among other things, Dr. Perlman is known for innovative programming, including concerts with narration, concerts with instruments not frequently featured for solos, performances of various dance forms using dancers, using costumes in a very memorable Halloween concert, and designing and conducting very successful comedy-in-music concerts.
When people say Mark Perlman is “a philosopher of the baton,” he can back it up – he has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Arizona and is a professor of philosophy at Western Oregon University. He is the author of several scholarly papers and books, and his current research includes work in aesthetics of music, now focused on a philosophical investigation into the nature of orchestral conducting.
Mark Perlman has a passion for the traditional symphonic repertoire, from Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler, and is now halfway through a multi-season Beethoven Symphony cycle with the Tualatin Valley Symphony. He also conducted a 1997 recording for CD of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Scottsdale Symphony and pianist Nicholas Carey. Yet he has also pursued new music, conducted world premieres of Joseph Harchanko’s Chamber Symphony: Oregon Landscapes, Kevin Elmore’s The Mischief of the Fae, and Michael Landers’ tone poem On the Morning of 9-11 (2005) and comic piece The Clown Car. In the 2003-04 season he conducted the Oregon premiere of Daniel Bukvich’s orchestra and choral work From the Journals of Lewis and Clark as part of Oregon’s celebration of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial.
Mark Perlman was originally a string bass player, continuing a family tradition – his father David was principal bass in the Cleveland Orchestra. He has played in many orchestras over the years, including the Salem Chamber Orchestra, Western Oregon Symphony, Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra, San Marcos Symphony Orchestra, Mesa Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Rainier Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in the Orchester des Instituts für Musikwissenschaft of the University of Munich (Germany).
If you would like to contact Dr. Perlman directly, send your email to: conductor [at] tualatinvalleysymphony [dot] org.