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University of Iowa News Release


March 30, 2007

Harpsichordist Perl Will Celebrate Bach's Birthday In A UI Concert

Katherine Roberts Perl, a harpsichord player and teacher from San Francisco, will play selections from Book II of J.S. Bach's monumental "Well-Tempered Clavier" in a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.

The concert, jointly sponsored by the UI School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, is presented in honor of the 322nd anniversary of Bach's birthday on March 21, 1685.

Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" consists of two volumes, each containing a prelude-fugue pair for solo keyboard in each of the 12 major and 12 minor keys. The first volume was compiled in 1722, while Bach was 37. The second volume was written 22 years later, near the end of his life. The volumes were widely circulated in manuscript during Bach's lifetime but not printed until 1801.

On her April 15 recital, Perl will play from Book II the preludes and fugues in C Major, F Major, D minor, A minor, Bb Major, G minor, E-flat Major, C minor, B-flat minor, F minor and A-flat Major.

Perl performs, records and teaches harpsichord in the San Francisco Bay area, where she also serves as harpsichord technician. In more than 30 years of performing, beginning with studies as a teenager in Los Angeles, she has developed a unique playing style influenced by the idioms of blues and jazz. "Playing the harpsichord dynamically and with full emotional expression is my passion in life," Perl says.

She and her husband, Mark, produce Chattanooga Chamber Music, a concert series in the intimate salon of their historic home on Chattanooga Street in San Francisco. "In an age when so much has been de-personalized, it feels good to be part of something which actually re-personalizes the experience of music for people," she says.

Perl has made three recordings: the "Pièces de Claveçin" (Keyboard pieces) by Louis Couperin, the harpsichord music of Jacques Duphly, and Bach's French Suites. The reviewer for American Record Guide's review commented: "Perl's exultant rapture in the sound itself makes for one of the best collaborations of engineering and performing artists I have heard."

For more information, see her Web page:

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

For more information on the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, visit their Web page at or call 319-337-3681.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;