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Beethoven's Wig - JPop.com
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Beethoven's Wig

Beethoven's Wig

Beethoven's Wig


A number of years ago, Richard Perlmutter toyed with the idea of writing lyrics to masterpieces of classical music. While humming Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, the words “Beethoven’s Wig is very big” popped into his head. "It really struck a chord because the words fit perfectly with the first eight notes of the symphony,” says Perlmutter. “And the wig is a perfect symbol for classical music." Perlmutter proceeded to add lyrics to the entire allegro con brio of Beethoven’s Fifth Read more on Last.fm
A number of years ago, Richard Perlmutter toyed with the idea of writing lyrics to masterpieces of classical music. While humming Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, the words “Beethoven’s Wig is very big” popped into his head. "It really struck a chord because the words fit perfectly with the first eight notes of the symphony,” says Perlmutter. “And the wig is a perfect symbol for classical music." Perlmutter proceeded to add lyrics to the entire allegro con brio of Beethoven’s Fifth, and liked it so well that he put words to ten more pieces by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Haydn and other composers.

Then he went into the studio and sang them, backed up by a symphony orchestra and four opera singers. The group's first album Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies was released on Rounder Records in 2002. Within a week of its debut, Perlmutter was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and then appeared on NBC’s Today Show. Pulse Magazine said it was, "an irreverent approach to music appreciation." The LA Times said it was, “an irreverent approach to music education.” US News and World Report said, "Perlmutter's got goofball charm… the lyrics are truly hilarious!" The album shot to the top of Amazon’s Bestseller List and held the #1 position on both the Amazon Classical and Children's Music Sales Charts for four months. Over the next year, Beethoven's Wig received 15 national awards including a Grammy Nomination for Best Musical Album for Children.

It was also designated an American Library Association Notable Recording. When Perlmutter followed up in 2004 with Beethoven's Wig 2 (featuring his lyrics set to more classical masterpieces), the two albums took over the #1 and #2 spot on Amazon's Bestseller List simultaneously. Beethoven’s Wig started performing across the country accompanied by symphony orchestras and ensembles and Perlmutter received a second Grammy Nomination. In 2005, "Beethoven's Wig: Read Along Symphonies," an illustrated children's book was published, and in 2006, "Beethoven's Wig 3" was released. It was a concept album, in which each song highlighted a different instrument. Beethoven's Wig 4 followed in 2008, in which each song featured lyrics for classical pieces written for dances and marches.

Both albums received Grammy Nominations. And in 2011, Perlmutter released a new album, Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics, featuring his lyrics set to well-known piano works by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, Debussy, Joplin and others. The piano works were all performed from their original scores by Grant Gershon, Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera and Music Director of the LA Master Chorale. The album was recorded at the Village Recorders in Santa Monica, CA. In 2012, the songs from Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics were released in an illustrated Beethoven’s Wig songbook, published by Alfred Music. The songbook contained piano/vocal sheet music for all the songs, and it included a copy of the original Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics CD.

The songbook also featured extensive program notes with histories and anecdotes about each song, which are accompanied by humorous illustrations drawn by Perlmutter’s son Sammy, who also did the songbook’s cover illustration. In addition, there is a foreword by the author, in which Perlmutter shares his thoughts about the process of adding lyrics to works of classical music and includes a short history of the practice. In 2012, Alfred Music also published a choral edition of the song Beethoven’s Wig designed for choirs. When Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics was released, the first Beethoven’s Wig animated short was produced by Smiley Guy Studios. Set to Perlmutter’s song “My Little Chicken,” it features a relentless hen that roams the world pecking and wrecking everything.

 It was followed up in 2012 by an animated video of the classic Beethoven’s Wig song “Beep Beep Beep,” with lyrics set to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” To date, the Beethoven's Wig series has received a record 50+ National Awards.

Perlmutter continues to perform with his group of four Beethoven's Wig singers. Hailed as opening the door to "serious music" in a way that's fun, Beethoven's Wig is a popular attraction not only with symphony orchestras, but also with college and university ensembles. Perlmutter also presents solo shows, singing Beethoven’s Wig songs, while accompanying himself on piano, classical guitar and mandolin. Hailed as opening the door to "serious music" in a way that's fun, Beethoven's Wig is now the most honored musical group in family entertainment.

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