With performances that express a breadth of tradition, guitarist Kim Perlak has been recognized as an inspired voice in new American music. Her playing was praised by The Austin-American Statesman as, “thoughtful, enchanting, vivid…a songwriter’s circle without the lyrics,” and by another Austin reviewer as, “moving…the most patriotic thing I’ve experienced in many months.”
Kim’s approach to the guitar includes new music, education, and public service. Her performances of classical works, original pieces, and collaborations with jazz and traditional players have been featured on National Public Radio, at the Peabody Institute Fretfest, and on five recordings. Her projects combining performance, American music history, and educational outreach have been funded through grants from the Center for African American Southern Music and Yale Alumni Ventures.
Kim’s collaborative guitar work with American veterans in the concert project “Ben & I Play for Peace” was honored by the PBS program “From the Top” as part of their Arts Leadership series, and was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, the work of “Ben & I” continues in the Veterans Guitar Project, based in Austin, TX. Kim's past positions include: producer at the Fred Plaut Studios at Yale University, Editor-in-Chief of Soundboard: The Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America, and faculty at the National Guitar Workshop and several college, university, and community programs. Kim serves on the boards of the Guitar Foundation of America, the Boston Classical Guitar Society, and The Music and Health Institute at Berklee College of Music.
At Berklee College of Music, Kim served as Assistant Chair of Guitar for five years before becoming Chair of Guitar in September 2018. As part of her curriculum development for the department, she authored the book Classical Technique for the Modern Guitarist, which was published by Berklee Press/Hal Leonard in 2016. She is the recipient of the 2016 and 2018 Berklee Chair Recording Grants. Kim is an advisor to the Berklee Career Center, and is the director of Berklee Guitar Sessions.
Kim’s current artistic work includes improvisation, composition, and course development in a duo with slide guitarist, Berklee guitar professor David Tronzo. Together, they have produced two recordings of original and spontaneously-composed music, a team-taught curriculum for the department, and a series of concerts and clinics for Berklee, Peabody Fretfest, Birmingham Southern College, and the International Association of Music and Medicine.
Kim holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (DMA ’08), Yale University School of Music (MM ’01), and Stetson University (BM ’98), and a certificate of completion from the Harvard University Management Development Program (2014).
Kim concertizes on guitars by Thomas Humphrey and Kirk Sand, and uses D’Addario Strings.
Listen to this podcast interview about Kim’s music, teaching, and artistic influences:
Berklee Now Podcast