Beethoven's Wig
Gig Seeker Pro

Beethoven's Wig

Westfield, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Westfield, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Classical Children's Music


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Press Quotes"

"An irreverent, witty approach to music appreciation… a laugh out loud album that pretty much guarantees listeners will forevermore recognize (the classics)."

- Lynne Heffley, Los Angeles Times


"Perlmutter’s got goofball charm…the orchestra’s great, and his lyrics are truly hilarious."

- U.S. News & World Report


"...the most creative and most child-centered of the five [Grammy] finalists. I hope "Beethoven's Wig" receives the Grammy ... recordings like this do not come around often ...."

- Fred Koch, Chicago Parent


"Five stars! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!"

- Yvette Cadeaux, Tower Pulse Magazine


"Silly lyrics cleverly draw in young listeners to the world of classical music in this high-spirited recording. This often goofy sing-along CD is a lighthearted way for young children to make acquaintance with popular classical works. Both vocal and instrumental versions of the recording's eleven songs are included. Five Stars."



"What’s the most far out place you could find a recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? The answer lies in the CD itself."

- Susan Stamberg, National Public Radio “All Things Considered”


"A perfect cross between entertainment and education, powered by lyric writing of exceptional craft and imagination.... It evokes a century of musical storytelling, in the most whimsical and clever traditions spanning Gilbert & Sullivan to Tin Pan Alley to the best of Sesame Street. Lyricist and singer Richard Perlmutter understands children as well as he understands music, and his love and passion for both fairly show through in every track."

- Ventura County Parent


"His songs are funny, but Perlmutter is not just a highbrow "Weird Al" Yankovic. The lyrics are hummable mnemonics, each imparting information about the work or its composer."

Nicole Arthur, The Washington Post


"If you're a kid — or a kid at heart — chances are you find the thought of Ludwig van Beethoven's silly white wig more amusing than the great composer's timeless compositions."

Renee Montagne, NPR


"Today there are four albums in the "Beethoven's Wig" series, which have been nominated for more than 40 awards, including three Grammy Award nominations. The "Beethoven's Wig" albums and concerts have been praised as excellent vehicles to introduce young audiences to classical music. The excerpts are short — usually just a couple of minutes in length — and Perlmutter's lyrics often mix child-like zaniness with a bit of history."

Tulsa World


"Other favorite tunes with equally zany lyrics include Jacques Offenbach's "Can-Can" and Giuseppe Verdi's "La Dona e Mobile" (renamed "Sing Verdi Verdi Loud"), as well as an unusual piece by Beethoven, his "Work for Mandolin," the backdrop for Perlmutter's lyrics in "Play My Song."

Bonnie Langston, Daily Freeman


"For those who have never thought of classical music as a "let-your-hair-down" type of entertainment, try on "Beethoven's Wig."

Julia Ann Weekes, New Hampshire Union Leader


"Classical music was never supposed to be this much fun. Was it?"

Lori Sears, The Baltimore Sun


"Listen just once to his 2002 debut, for example, and you'll never hear the opening bars of the composer's fifth symphony without thinking "Beethoven's wig…is very big!"

Nicole Arthur, The Washington Post


"Perlmutter says he sees himself more as an entertainer than an educator and hopes that kids just get enjoyment out of the book as well as some exposure to classical music."

Diana McKeon Charkalis, Los Angeles Daily News


"An excellent introduction to the fun of classical music for young people."

Betsy L. Hogan, Midwest Book Review


"Twice nominated for Grammy Awards these CDs, aimed at young children, have also collected a host of other awards, rightly so in my opinion. Beethoven's Wig is the original concept of Richard Perlmutter,"

JUDITH MONK, Musical Opinion Magazine


"The crowd sang, giggled and clapped along throughout the show, and when Perlmutter invite - Press


Turning Classical Music on Its Head

By Nicole Arthur
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 19, 2006

Who is this Beethoven, and why do we keep trying to make him roll over?

Take Richard Perlmutter. In 2002, he released "Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies," a children's recording that set laugh-out-loud lyrics to a collection of classical music's best-known works. "Beethoven's wig/Is very big," Perlmutter sings on its title track, which is set to the composer's Fifth Symphony.

"When that line popped into my head -- 'Beethoven's wig is very big' -- I thought it was interesting," Perlmutter says. "The wig is kind of a symbol for classical music, and musicians are often called longhairs." He pauses. "And it's silly."

The disc's comic take on the classical canon resonated with listeners. "A week after it was out I was on NPR, and then a couple months later I was on the 'Today Show,' and that was the first time I had done a live performance." Along with its sequel, "Beethoven's Wig 2: More Sing Along Symphonies," the CD has garnered more than 30 awards, including two Grammy nominations, and has topped both classical and children's album charts.

Perlmutter, a Los Angeles advertising executive who wrote music for radio and television before "Beethoven's Wig" became a full-time job, still seems bemused by the disc's success. "It's just so cool," he says.

His songs are funny, but Perlmutter is not just a highbrow "Weird Al" Yankovic. The lyrics are hummable mnemonics, each imparting information about the work or its composer. "It makes the songs less random when the lyrics have to do with the pieces," Perlmutter says. "I would never sing, 'Go to the library, you'll really learn!' "

Parents aren't the only adult demographic enamored of the discs. "I think people sometimes think of classical music -- either players or composers -- as maybe either stuffy or somehow sequestered in concert halls and practice rooms," he says, "but they just seem to love this."

Perlmutter, along with four of the vocalists who appear on the CDs, will perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Saturday in Baltimore. "You've heard me, so I'm not going to brag about my own singing," he says, "but the others are just astounding." Although Perlmutter frequently sings with smaller ensembles -- pianists, string quartets -- this is only his third appearance with a full orchestra. "To perform with an orchestra is just amazing," he says. "It's so much fun!"

The concert marks the release this month of "Beethoven's Wig 3." It differs markedly from its predecessors, each of its tracks highlighting the sound of a particular instrument rather than the work's composer. The concept necessitated looking outside classical music's Top 40 for material. "It was really, really fun because, first of all, some of those instruments don't get featured that often, and it was challenging to find a piece that would really express what the instrument was all about," Perlmutter says. "A really large part of it was finding [a work] that said, 'This is what the harpsichord means to me' or 'This is how a clarinet speaks to me.' "

Among Perlmutter's favorite tracks is "Play My Song," based on a little-known Beethoven work for mandolin. "Even people who know a lot about classical music aren't familiar with that piece," he says. "A lot of them don't even know that he wrote mandolin pieces." The lyrics tell a true story. "Beethoven was quite a, I don't know if 'womanizer' is the right word, but he was always chasing women. This woman was above his station in life, but he made a play for her anyway. She was an amateur mandolin player, so he wrote these pieces and dedicated them to her." She was apparently unmoved, and the composer never wrote another piece for mandolin.

The first of many planned books complementing the CDs, "Beethoven's Wig: Read Along Symphonies," came out late last year. Its whimsical illustrations by Maria Rosetti -- interwoven with the score of Beethoven's Fifth -- capture the lyrics' loopy imagery. "Most books about music have the actual music at the end," Perlmutter says. "I thought it would be really neat to try and integrate the music into the book." He says his other songs will make for more conventional narratives. "This first book was very, very tricky because it's not really a story. This book is more of a fantasy, a wig experience. "

Beethoven's wig is big all right -- and getting bigger. "I'm working on 'Beethoven's Wig 4' right now," Perlmutter says. "I've sworn not to tell what it's about, but it's somewhat thematic as well."

Three albums in, you wouldn't think any classical work would be impervious to Perlmutter's ability as a lyricist. But he says there are pieces that remain beyond his reach. "There are some that are really hard -- like 'The Flight of the Bumblebee,' " he says. "I've tried to kind of mess with that, and it may . . . end up being on the album. I don't know, but I don't know how to a - Various

"Presenter/Conductor Quotes"

"Beethoven's Wig was a sell out! (Meyerhoff Hall) The artists of Beethoven's Wig are true professionals in the business of entertaining children. From the morning news, through every press release and on to performance, Beethoven's Wig was one of the most accessible ensembles we have hosted."

Lisa A. Sheppley
Associate Director of Education
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra


"We were thrilled to book a complete sell out as part of our Education Outreach to students serving close to 20 counties in Central Virginia. The students and the staff at the Paramount Theater loved having you here. The show was a huge success and it is a true testament to the generous spirit of the touring party and the intelligent and humorous production delivered. We loved every minute! We wish you great success on the road and look forward to working with you soon!"

Mary Beth Aungier
General Manager
The Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA


"This is the young people's concert of the future for symphony orchestras around the country. There is humor on many levels and information on many levels. The scores are professionally done, beautifully laid out. Every note in every part is correct. We didn't lose any rehearsal time."

Henry Charles Smith
Guest Conductor Billings Symphony Orchestra
Former Conductor Minnesota Orchestra


"The wonderful thing about Beethoven's Wig is it's multigenerational. It may be considered a kids show but I think the adults, grandparents and parents are having as much fun or even more so because it's a multilayered show."

Rina Reynolds
Executive Director Billings Symphony Orchestra


"Richard Perlmutter is a consummate professional who engages the audience both young and old to sing along and be involved with music that they would under normal circumstances not be listening to. The stellar quality of the performers, Richard and the opera singers is a treat for a family audience and leaves them with knowledge of classical music that will inspire them to learn more."

Debra Pasquerette
Education Director
Geffen Playhouse
Los Angeles


"The Beethoven's Wig performance at the Museum was a huge hit! Perlmutter's exuberance is contagious. I was amazed to see kids jumping out of their seats for classical music. And the material is so witty and intelligent the parents loved it too."

Carol Zawatsky
Director of Education
Jewish Museum, New York


"Performing with Beethoven's Wig was one of the highlights of the orchestra's season for both the players and the audience. Their hilarious show was entertaining and informative. Richard Perlmutter's insightful musical wit belies his vocal virtuosity and the orchestra parts were well written and clearly organized. The show went off without a hitch and was enjoyed by parents and children alike. This group is on our 'must have them back' list!"

Dr. Keith A. Cochrane
Music Department
San Juan College
Farmington, NM


"Our concert with Beethoven's Wig was marvelous! My students and I both had a wonderful time working with the very professional singers. It was a real treat for all of us to be actively involved in the show and not just playing as the "house band" – the orchestra had as much fun as the audience! The orchestra and I were truly impressed how Beethoven's Wig presented great music to young children in an engaging and entertaining way without pandering to the audience or 'dumbing down' the music. We would love to perform with Beethoven's Wig again!"

Dr. David C. Cole
Director of Orchestral Studies
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX


"Richard Perlmutter and the cast of Beethoven's Wig were a delight to work with and the concert was an outstanding addition to our 25th Anniversary Season. As far as family concerts go, Beethoven's Wig is one of the best packages for an in house orchestra that I have worked with regard to affordability, professionalism and minimal tech requirements. Beethoven's Wig offers a fast paced concert that is highly engaging and entertaining for all ages. With four commercial albums to their name, Beethoven's Wig has built in merchandising. Also, the cast was willing to sign autographs after the performance which always adds the volume of merchandise sales to create a win/win for the presenter and the artist."

Scott Black
Executive Director
OK Mozart Festival
Bartlesville, Oklahoma


"From their formal attire to their witty and engaging son - Beethoven's Wig Quotes


Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies
Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies is the first album in the series. It features lyrics set to the some of the greatest hits of classical music: Fur Elise, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1812 Overture, Can Can and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Each piece is filled with fact and fancy about the world's most notable composers and their masterpieces, and they open the door to "serious music" in a way that's fun. In addition to the lyrical versions, the orchestral performance of each classical piece is included without lyrics. Each album also has classical music trivia, and activities for kids, parents and teachers. Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Symphonies reached the Number 1 position on Amazon’s Hot 100 Bestseller List and held the Number 1 on both the Amazon Classical and Children’s Charts for four months. It has been in ranked in the top 100 on the Amazon Classical Sales Charts for over 7 years. It also won a Grammy Award nomination and 15 other awards.

Beethoven's Wig 2: More Sing Along Symphonies
Beethoven's Wig 2: More Sing Along Symphonies is the second CD in series. It includes more big classical hits: In the Hall of the Mountain King, The Wedding March, Spring from the Four Seasons, and The Blue Danube Waltz. Beethoven’s Wig 2 also reached the Number 1 Position on the Amazon Bestseller List, Classical and Children’s Charts and won a Grammy Award Nomination.

Beethoven's Wig 3: Many More Sing Along Symphonies
Beethoven's Wig 3 celebrates the instruments. It’s a concept album in which each piece features a different instrument. Eighteen different instruments are highlighted and the lyrics often pertain to the instruments themselves. There are big hits: William Tell Overture, Thus Spake Zarathustra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and a dance from the Nutcracker Suite. Plus, there are some lesser known pieces including a work Beethoven composed for mandolin, and a trombone piece by Joseph Haydn’s brother Michael. Beethoven’s Wig 3 also received a Grammy Nomination.

Beethoven's Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies
Beethoven’s Wig 4 features great classical music written for dances and marches. There’s a Bach Minuet, a Strauss Polka, a Waltz by Waldteufel, and even some ragtime by Joplin. In addition, marches by Sousa and Elgar are included. The album also contains a bonus track called Beep Beep Beep, a song about a late night traffic jam set to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It’s been played numerous times on NPR’s Car Talk and is featured on a Car Talk Greatest Hits album. Beethoven’s Wig 4 won the group its fourth Grammy Award Nomination.

Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Piano Classics

On the fifth Beethoven’s Wig album, the Wig turns from symphonic to piano music, adding its spin to giants of the keyboard: Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Debussy and Mussorgsky, as well as modern composers Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Henry Cowell. In addition, Scott Joplin’s ragtime classic “The Entertainer” is included as is the famous “Celebrated Chop Waltz” commonly known as “Chopsticks.” To date, Beethoven’s Wig is one of the most honored series of recordings in the history of family entertainment - with 46 awards, including 4 Grammy Award Nominations.



Beethoven’s Wig sings witty, inventive lyrics set to the greatest hits of classical music. Created by lyricist and lead vocalist Richard Perlmutter, Beethoven’s Wig is comprised of five singers who perform as featured artists with symphony orchestras and ensembles.

Beethoven’s Wig songs are filled with fact and fancy about the world’s greatest composers, and their music and concerts open the door to “serious music” for all ages. Richard Perlmutter gets the audience into the act by encouraging them to sing along, dance the Can Can, and answer classical music trivia questions. Entertaining anecdotes about classical composers and their compositions are woven throughout the performance.

Beethoven’s Wig has performed as a headlining artist at world-renowned venues, performing arts centers, festivals and museums. The group has been featured on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Today Show.” Two of their albums have reached #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List. Beethoven’s Wig has won 4 Grammy Award Nominations and three of its albums have been honored as American Library Association “Notable Recordings.”

Symphony Orchestra Show

When performing with symphony orchestras, Beethoven’s Wig provides the conductor's score and parts for all instruments. All music is clean, note perfect and orchestra tested. One two-hour rehearsal is required either the day of the performance or the day before.

Ensemble Performances

Shows with small ensembles or chamber orchestras are custom tailored to accommodate the instrumentation. Beethoven's Wig provides all the music. Beethoven's Wig also has its own pianist who can accompany them.

Solo Shows

Perlmutter presents a solo show of Beethoven’s Wig songs (along with stories and anecdotes, comedy and audience participation) accompanying himself on piano.

Richard Perlmutter - Creator, Lyricist and Lead Singer
Richard Perlmutter is the creator, lyricist and featured performer of Beethoven's Wig, one of the most honored children's music series ever. The first four albums in the series have been nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Musical Album for Children and the recordings and book have been honored with an astounding 40 national awards. Perlmutter has released two other children's recordings: Tin Pan Alley and Hot Diggity. He has also produced three additional albums: Hear & Gone in 60 Seconds! featuring 29 of the best artists in children's music and winner of 7 national awards; Ukulele Lady with Victoria Jackson of Saturday Night Live; and Little Cowpoke, for the Grammy-winning Nickel Creek. In addition, Richard has written music for radio and TV. Richard holds degrees from Cornell University, Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University. He also taught at Yale.

Elin Carlson - Soprano
Elin Carlson has had a distinguished career performing leading opera roles and as a concert soloist in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Austria. Elin has sung on many film and TV scores, including solos in X-Men 2, Mars Attacks, Flubber, and Disney's 3 Musketeers, and an on-camera appearance as an opera diva in The 4th Tenor with Rodney Dangerfield. She is also the voice on the Star Trek DVDs. Elin received her Bachelor of Music Degree in theory and composition at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and is a published composer.

Jennifer Barnes - Alto
Jennifer Barnes is a highly sought-after vocalist, clinician and arranger throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is the Director of Vocal Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, where she directs the award-winning UNT Jazz Singers. Jennifer recorded her own solo jazz CD, “You Taught My Heart” (available on iTunes and, and is also the alto voice and an arranger/composer for the professional vocal quartet, Vertical Voices Live and the a cappella vocal collective, Sixth Wave. She has appeared and sung on radio and television ads for Chili’s Restaurant, Epson, Old El Paso, and McDonalds, and on tv and film scores including “Wall-E”, the “X Men” films, “Ice Age 2 & 3”, “Enchanted”, “Star Trek” and “Glee”.

Jonathan Mack - Tenor
Mack’s recital, opera and concert career as a lyric tenor has taken him throughout the United States, Germany, France, Holland and Australia. American opera engagements have included Kentucky Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Utah, Vancouver Opera, Portland Opera, and seventeen seasons with the Los Angeles Opera, where he has performed over fifty roles. H