The Interlochen Collection: Jerry Bilik's 'musicological oddities'

Nov 13, 2020

On this episode, we revisit a 1987 recital by pianist, composer, humorist and Interlochen Arts Camp/National Music Camp alumnus Jerry Bilik featuring "musicological oddities of the early years of Interlochen."

According to Bilik, many popular songs like "Stardust" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" were actually created by Interlochen campers.

Many of these campers were distant relatives of famous composers, Bilik explained.

These young prodigies include Billy Brahms, Manny Mozart and Betty Bach.

Through extensive research, Bilik unearthed these tunes and then presented them in the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall. 

This episode includes this lighthearted 1987 recital as well as other familiar works by Bilik.

Not Billy Brahms or Manny Mozart, but a teenaged Jerry Bilik at Interlochen in 1947
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts

Program details

Jerry Bilik, "Variations on a College Song"; University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra

Jerry Bilik piano and humor recital (July 25, 1987)

Jerry Bilik, American Variations; Col. Arnold Gabriel/Interlochen Arts Academy Band (December 1972 WIAA radio broadcast)

The archival recordings heard on this program are available thanks in part to the Association for Recorded Sound Collections' Classical Music Preservation Grant, support from listeners and the Hamer D. and Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation.

Michael Culler provided audio engineering assistance.

Eileen Ganter provided research support.