Ronald Perera was born in Boston on Christmas Day, 1941. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Harvard, where his principal composition teacher was Leon Kirchner. He also worked independently with Randall Thompson. Subsequently he spent a year on a John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship studying electronic music at the University of Utrecht. His more than seventy compositions include three operas, song cycles, chamber, choral and orchestral works and—in the early part of his career—several works which combine voices or instruments with electronically generated sounds.

He is especially known for his many text settings. Reviewing the recording of his cantata, The Outermost House, John Story of Fanfare magazine wrote: “Ronald Perera is among the finest living combiners of words and music.”

Mr. Perera has been the recipient of awards or fellowships from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Foundation, and Harvard University. His music has been performed by many conductors, soloists, and ensembles both in this country and abroad. His music is published by E.C. Schirmer, Boosey and Hawkes, Music Associates of New York, and Pear Tree Press Music Publishers, and is recorded on the Albany, CRI, Navona and Opus One labels.

Mr. Perera retired in 2002 from a thirty-year teaching career at Smith College, where he was the Elsie Irwin Sweeney Professor of Music. He lives in Leeds, Massachusetts and Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

For more information please visit his website at


Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College | April 2, 2017
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 31, 2017
Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University | September 25, 2009

News and Press

[Concert Review] More from the Voice of America

I’ve been slow to post my thoughts on the second half of the “Voice of America” concert I heard last Friday, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. Indeed, this was probably the most rewarding Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert I’ve yet heard. Although I confess I don’t often hear this group; to me, there’s sometimes a problem built right into their concerts - they’re funded by the composers being played. I don’t mean to criticize this as a way of getting new music out before the public, and to be honest, what I’ve heard at BMOP has always been highly accomplished.

The Hub Review Full review
[Concert Review] Florestan and BMOP join forces to celebrate American vocal repertoire

This evening’s double concert in the Distler Performance Hall of Tufts’ Granoff Music Center began a 3-day festival involving a partnership between the Florestan Recital Project and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to highlight American vocal music. The former’s presentation was the 1st of 3 concerts which together would span the entire vocal opus of Samuel Barber, aptly titled, “BarberFest,” while the latter highlights contemporary compositions for vocalist(s) and chamber orchestra.

Classical Voice of New England Full review