Final Note: Pearl Kaufman

Life Member. Piano
10/19/1931 – 8/1/2021

Pearl was a member of Local 47 for 64 years. She began her career at 14 by winning the UCLA Young Artist and the Los Angeles Outstanding Musicians auditions. Pearl was a trailblazer for female musicians in the film and recording industries. She was awarded scholastic and performance scholarships to the University of Southern California (USC), where she received both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Music where she graduated Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, Summa Cum Laude, and was honored as the most outstanding student in the School of music where she studied under John Crown. Pearl taught piano and coached opera at USC under the direction of Walter Ducloux for three years. She appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Festival Orchestra, California Chamber Symphony, Ojai Festival Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic among numerous other orchestras.

Pearl had an illustrious recording career in Hollywood as a pianist in high demand by many classic film composers. Her virtuoso playing can be heard in over 250 film scores including those by Maurice Jarre, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Franz Waxman, Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann and many more. These titles included her featured performances in “Dr. Zhivago” (with the iconic Lara’s Theme), “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Great Race,” “Summer of ’42,” “Chinatown,” “Is Paris Burning,” and “Five Easy Pieces,” where she served as Musical Director and piano soloist. Pearl was also well known for her role as actor Jack Nicholson’s musical coach. You can hear Pearl playing in other film classics such as “Mutiny On The Bounty” (1962), “The Magnificent Seven,” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” to name a few.

Pearl was also Igor Stravinky’s pianist and performed the entire Eightieth Birthday Series with Stravinsky for Columbia Records, plus works by Arnold Shöenberg and Alban Berg under the direction of Robert Craft. She spent the later half of her career giving concerts throughout the country and on cruise ships across the world. In recent years, Pearl went back to teaching piano and mentoring. She loved to inspire and encourage her students.

Pearl was loving, warm hearted, with a great sense of humor. Even more than her passion for music was her love of family and friends. She will be missed by so many.

Pearl is survived by her two daughters, Laura and Sylvia, their husbands and five grandchildren.