The American conductor, harpsichordist, and composer, Martin Pearlman, received training in composition, violin, piano, and theory in his youth. Following studies in composition with Karel Husa at Cornell University, receiving B.A. in 1967, he pursued training in harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt on a Fulbright scholarship in the Netherlands from 1967 to 1968. He subsequently took his M.M. in composition under Wyner at Yale University in 1971, and also studied harpsichord with Ralph Kirkpatrick and electronic music with Arel. In 1972 he won the Erwin Bodky Award and in 1974 was the prize winner in the Bruges Competition.
In 1973 Martin Pearlman founded and became music director of Banchetto Musicale, the first permanent Baroque orchestra established in North America. In 1992 it was renamed Boston Baroque. Since then he is music director, and conductor of both the orchestra and professional chamber chorus which make up the Boston Baroque ensemble. Mr. Pearlman has received critical acclaim for over twenty-five years in orchestral, choral and operatic repertoire from Monteverdi to Beethoven. Highlights of his work in opera include Monteverdi's L’incoronazione di Poppea (for which he created a new performing edition), Rameau's Zoroastre, and a series of W.A. Mozart operas including Il rè pastore, Abduction from the Seraglio, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni, the last of which was broadcast nationally on public radio. Martin Pearlman's completion and orchestration of music from W.A. Mozart's Lo Sposo Deluso and his performing version of Purcell's Comical History of Don Quixote were both premiered by Boston Baroque.
In addition to his work with Baroque ensembles, Martin Pearlman's recent engagements with modern orchestras and choruses include leading the National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa in the Monteverdi Vespers, his Kennedy Center debut with The Washington Opera in Georg Frideric Handel's Semele, and performances with the Utah Opera, Opera/Columbus, Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony and the New World Symphony Orchestra. Martin Pearlman was the first conductor from the period-instrument field to perform live on the internationally televised Grammy Awards show.