The Inside Story: Scott Perkins

We’re starting a new series here at PARMA, entitled “The Inside Story”.  The series is aimed at obtaining a glimpse of the lives and personalities of the masterminds behind your favorite and upcoming albums.

Each “story” will stem from a selected artist’s responses to their choice of 4-8 questions developed by our PARMA Marketing Team.  The artist’s answers will serve to present an “inside,” and perhaps even unconventional look into the ticks of our artists.

The questions are as follows:

  1. Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?
  2. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?
  3. What was your most unusual performance or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?
  5. If you weren’t a composer/performer, what would you be?
  6. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?
  7. If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?
  8. If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be?  And why?

Our first “Inside Story” features debut PARMA artist, Scott Perkins, a Connecticut native, international prize-winning composer, educator, and adventurer! Enjoy!

Scott Perkins

Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?

OK, here goes…. Like a lot of composers in my generation, I grew up on mostly pop music, not classical. My earliest favorite artists were the ones whose albums my parents had on cassette tapes (I realize I’m dating myself), and my mom had Madonna’s Like a Virgin. When I was four or five, I used to put on little concerts in front of our fireplace and lip synch to the title track, as well as “Material Girl” and “Dress You Up.” There were others, too—I remember Huey Lewis’s Sports, Tears for Fears’s Songs from the Big Chair, and Pat Benatar’s Tropico….

Later, when I was in elementary school and was developing my own tastes, I was really into Mariah Carey (Emotions), R.E.M. (Out of Time), Aerosmith (Pump), and Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever). I guess it was a pretty eclectic group. But if I had to pick my absolute favorite band growing up, it would definitely be U2.

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/composer/creator?

When I was 14, I won my first composition competition. I was chosen from a group of young composers from across Connecticut to have a work performed by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra as part of a program called “The Composer’s Tool Box,” which was designed to introduce young people to basic composition techniques. I still remember the whole experience like it was yesterday. I got to meet HSO associate conductor Tibor Pusztai (who passed away almost exactly a year ago), and he showed me his annotated copy of my score and gave me a lesson in composing and conducting. I got to attend a rehearsal of my piece, and I got to give the orchestra feedback. I remember other pieces from the program, some of which remain among my favorites: the “Celebration (After Billy’s Capture)” from Copland’s Billy the Kid, and the third movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 3. But the most exhilarating moment was when I got to go out onstage to take a bow after my piece was played. That was when I realized that I wanted to pursue composition seriously.


If you weren’t a composer/performer, what would you be?

Well, a questionable computerized career survey I took in middle school told me I should be a cook or a chef (I don’t think “composer” was among the possible outcomes), but I think I would be a linguist (also probably not a possible outcome). I’ve always been fascinated by language, from word origins and language relations to phonology and semantics. I’m sure that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m so interested in setting text to music. I guess you could say I’m attracted to low-paying professions.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

I love to travel, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a fair amount of it. Probably the most gorgeous—sometimes even breathtaking—country I’ve visited is Norway, and its most beautiful city is Bergen. It’s a remarkable place: it’s on a fjord surrounded by a series of mountains; it has an Old-World feel with its cobblestone streets and medieval wooden houses, but it has all the amenities, infrastructure, and culture you’d want in a modern city; it’s active, yet it’s easy to find peace and quiet. Grieg had a beautiful villa called Troldhaugen with a separate studio on a lake just outside of Bergen. I would love to have a studio on one of the mountains overlooking the fjord. I’d go hiking every day (I love hiking, even in the rain, and it rains a lot in Bergen), I’d take in concerts at the Grieg Hall or Den Nationale Scene, and I’d walk the city streets. I think I’d have no shortage of inspiration there.

Scott Perkin’s THE STOLEN CHILD will be released on Navona Records Friday, January 13th. You can pre-order the albums on Amazon, iTunes, and Arkiv Music. Follow him on Twitter. Until then, here’s a promo video: 


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