About Martin Perlich

Author of the classic work The Art of the Interview (Silman-James Press (2007), writer, producer and distinguished broadcaster Martin Perlich has for the last decade hosted and produced the acclaimed live interview series ARF!! (ARTS & ROOTS FORUM)  The show, which aired daily on Los Angeles public radio, featured major cultural figures, from Stacy Keach to Terry Riley to Sandra Tsing Loh to avant-garde playwright Murray Mednick, as well as dozens of Arts figures: writers, directors, choreographers, and musical figures from Jazz, World music, and of course classical music, with many 21st century composers — known and unknown.

From 2000 to 2008 Martin served as Program Director responsible for all programming of innovative LA public radio station KCSN, named “Best of LA” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2006. In addition Perlich hosted an acclaimed daily classical and New Music show. His historic interview show Martin Perlich Interviews featuring Leonard Bernstein, Frank Zappa, R. Crumb, Pierre Boulez, Tom Waits and hundreds more, was syndicated nationally by WCLV/Seaway productions. The program won the New York International Radio Festival for two consecutive years.  In his lengthy broadcast career he has amassed a huge archive of interviews, from Gore Vidal to John Adams, to Bill Evans.

Perlich has also written screenplays and novels, poetry and documentary films. The Wild Times, the first novel of his Adequacy Quartet, was published by Empty Press in 2006. As a broadcaster he has programmed and presented classical music, jazz and rock and roll, and this website offers recordings of these archives plus brand new interviews with international leaders in the arts.

A man who has followed his heart rather than any career path as such, he has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Whoopi Goldberg and Ravi Shankar and has been honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1998). A copy of his public TV documentary Citizen Artist is in the Smithsonian permanent collection (2007).  As an actor he has worked with director Norman Corwin and with Jeff von der Schmidt and Southwest Chamber Music in Samuel Beckett’s Cascando.

Perlich’s early work was in music history.  After studying with distinguished American composer Douglas Moore at Columbia University, he became, at 24, the first Intermission Host of the syndicated Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts.  He worked closely with Musical Director George Szell as well as providing insightful interviews with Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Fiedler, Robert Shaw, Isaac Stern and hundreds of others in his seven year stint.

In the cultural eruption of the 1960s Perlich became a pioneer in “experimental radio”, continuing into the 70′s with interviews for WMMS in Cleveland and KMET in Los Angeles, featuring luminaries of that turbulent period:  Jane Fonda, members of Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement, Dick Gregory, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Isaac Asimov, Tom Waits, Dexter Gordon, Attica prisoners and eight memorable encounters with Frank Zappa, as well as hundreds of other rock and experimental musicians.

In 1970, after Martin’s second interview with Leonard Bernstein, the Maestro asked him to head a new production division he was proposing to Columbia Records, which Bernstein invited Perlich to head, overseeing the production of film and video of Bernstein’s conducting projects. In addition Martin would be tasked with finding or writing “a second West Side Story” as well as text for the new Mass that Bernstein was composing for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  When Columbia balked at funding the Leonard Bernstein Division, the Maestro left the label for Deutsche Grammophon for whom he produced a legendary recorded legacy. As the Maestro left for Vienna, the disappointed Martin left for LA.

In a rare display of versatility Perlich joined the staff of leading West Coast “Progressive Rock” station KMET, where he hosted Electric Tongue, a weekly interview show featuring major rock and arts figures. In 1975 Perlich became Creative Consultant of NBC-TV’s weekly 90-minute “The Midnight Special,” responsible for the acclaimed “Salute” segment, a regular documentary featuring major pop and rock music figures: Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Loretta Lynne and others, in addition to writing, rehearsing and assisting with editing the history-making network show.

At Public TV outlets in Los Angeles and WNET in New York, Perlich developed and produced dramatic, music and documentary programming including: “Citizen Artist” (included in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection), “Hollywood 90″ (live drama),   “Singer/Songwriter” (which he hosted) and “Informance”, among other projects.  In 1985 he produced the seminar “Shooting for Change”, focusing on socially responsible feature films, with panelists drawn from major studios and leading independent filmmakers.  He founded Wilton Place Films, and developed (writing and producing) “The Trial of Ramona  Africa” with Whoopi Goldberg under the aegis of American Playhouse and Channel 4 in London.

The father of three, (including the acclaimed character actor Max Perlich and KJZZ-FM/LA host Miles Perlich) Martin has written, produced and directed interactive video with Warner New Media  (CD-ROMs:  Brahms’ “A German Requiem”; Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”; and the vast interactive educational project “The Orchestra”); “ as well as  “Taj Mahal: Like Never Before” for Private Music.