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

Composer Jerry Bilik in 2015
Composer Jerry Bilik in 2015

In a 1987 guest recital, pianist, composer, humorist and Interlochen Arts Camp/National Music Camp alumnus Jerry Bilik presented what he called the "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 popular compositions by Bilik.

Program details

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

Jerry Bilik piano and humor recital (Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall, July 25, 1987)

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

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

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.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.