William P. Perry
William P. Perry is a composer and producer. Born in Elmira, NY he attended Harvard University and studied music with Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson and literature with George Sherburn and Walter Jackson Bate. After a stint in the military, he joined the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency as a composer, script writer and television producer, working with such entertainment icons as Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason. The next career move, somewhat unexpected, took him to the Museum of Modern Art where he became music director and composed and performed more than two hundred scores for the Museum’s silent film collection. His subsequent PBS television series, “The Silent Years” hosted by Orson Welles and Lillian Gish, won an Emmy Award. Perry is often credited with having played a major role in the revival of interest in classic silent films. Continuing his association with PBS, he created and produced the “Anyone for Tennyson?” poetry series and thereafter produced and scored the Peabody-Award winning Mark Twain Series of six feature films for Great Performances. His stage work has included a musical biography of Mark Twain that ran for ten summers in Elmira and Hartford and a Broadway musical version of “Wind in the Willows” starring Nathan Lane. In recent years Perry, a long-time Berkshires resident, has concentrated on a Naxos series of CDs of his orchestral works.