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Thank you for making a donation to the Maurice Peress Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Prof. Peress was a beloved colleague, mentor, and teacher for generations of students at the Aaron Copland School of Music. We are proud to launch this scholarship in his memory, so that he may continue to contribute to the education of future generations of musicians.

Maurice Peress: (1930 – 2017)

Prof. Maurice Peress was a conductor who worked closely with both Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, and whose life’s work embodied his twin passions for jazz and classical music. Maestro Peress spent 33 years conducting the student orchestra at the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music, where he established a master’s degree in conducting. His professional career included conducting the premieres of important works by Bernstein and other notable American composers, and he orchestrated several of Ellington’s signature band compositions for symphonic orchestra. He was the assistant conductor of the NY Philharmonic under Bernstein, led several national symphony orchestras, and guest conducted worldwide. Maestro Peress authored two books: “Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America’s Music and Its African American Roots,” published in 2004, and a memoir, “Maverick Maestro,” published in 2015.

His complete NY Times Obituary can be viewed here:

Click here for a link to a video of Prof. Peress Conducting the Student orchestra


If you prefer to make a donation by check, please make out to the Queens College Foundation (with the Maurice Peress Scholarship listed in the memo line) and mail to Queens College, Kiely Hall 907, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY 11367.

The scholarship fund will be endowed once the fund threshold is reached, and awards will be given from the interest of the fund. If the threshold is not reached in an amount of time agreed upon by the ACSM and Peress family, the fund will not be endowed and awards will be given from the principal.

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Queens College Foundation


65-30 Kissena Boulevard 


Kiely Hall, 9th Floor


Queens, New York 11367








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