Joel Peresman

Booking Agent, Concert Promoter, and Rock and Rock Hall of Fame CEO
A native of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania Joel Peresman rose from a being concert security guard and a William Morris mail room clerk to become a top rock talent agent, concert promoter, and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Peresman began his music industry career working stage security for Pittsburgh's DiCesare-Engler Productions in 1975.  After college he learned the talent business at the William Morris Agency and became a booking agent at
 the International Talent Group for 15 years representing major rock artists such David Bowie and Genesis.  As an executive at Madison Square Gardens and Radio City Music Hall for 10 years he promoted hundreds of major concerts, stage shows, and national televisions shows.  He became chief of the foundation that runs the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in 2008.

Growing up in Pittsburgh

Joel Perseman was born in Pittsburgh in 1957 and grew up in the Mt. Lebanon suburb. His father was a merchandise manager for the Gimbels Department store.  Joel fell in love with music at early age, saving up his pennies to buy his first 45 single for 63 cents at age six. He listened to his older sister’s Beatles and Rolling Stone albums. Joel studied trumpet and guitar during his school years. He began going to rock concerts in Pittsburgh attending shows promoted by DiCesare-Engler Productions.  .

After he graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1974, Joel major in finance at the University of Texas in Austin. Back home in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1975 Joel called concert promoter Rich Engler of DiCesare-Engler Productions to ask for a summer job. Engler hired him as a security guard. At his first show Peresman's job was to guard opening artist David Sanborn’s basement dressing room for a James Taylor concert at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque. Sanborn cut him a break, letting him sneak upstairs to watch part of James Taylor's set.  Joel continued to work security for DiCesare-Engler during Christmas and summer college breaks. He came to like the music business and wanted to make it his career.

How to Succeed in Business

Peresman graduated from the University of Texas in 1978 and headed straight to New York City seeking a job in the music business. One of his father’s merchandise vendors, who was a cousin of songwriter Sammy Cahn, called Cahn to ask if he would meet with Joel. Sammy agreed and summoned Joel to his Manhattan office. Joel told Sammy that he wanted to work at a booking agency. Sammy called Lou Weiss, head of the William Morris Agency and Lou told Sammy to send Joel right over. Joel was hired a week later at $150 a week. Like the J. Pierrepont Finch character in the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", Perseman began at the bottom in the mail room.  He delivered mail and answered phones to learn the business from the ground up. After three months Joel was promoted to be a secretary to booking agent Michael Farrell who handle several major artists. Joel answered and made phone calls, typed correspondence, mailed contracts and ran errands. He learned how to deal with clients by listening to the agent’s calls by headset. .."Hey baby......"

Becoming a Rock Music Agent at International Talent Group

Peresman left William Morris when his boss Michael Farrell and the head of the William Morris music department left the agency to form the International Talent Group. They represented David Bowie, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, the Clash, Tom Waits, and The Cure worldwide. Joel worked at International Talent for 15 years, became an agent, booked clubs and colleges and signed artists.

Running the Shows at Madison Square Garden and Radio City

In 1995 Joel was hired by New York City’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) to be vice president of concerts. Persemnn booked 50 to 60 concerts annually at Madison Square Garden and shows at Radio City Music Hall. Joel was the point of contact between that operation staff of the Garden and the acts, helping to execute the production details. He helped produce the post September 11 show the "Concert for New York City: at the Garden. At Radio City he brought the Grammy Awards to New York for the first time, along with MTV Video Music Awards, the Tony Awards, and the Daytime Emmy Awards During his 10 year stay at MSG he rose to executive positions in concerts and events for Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. Preseman left MSG in 2007 to became the operating officer for Clear Channel Entertain New York..

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In July of 2006 Peresman became President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. The foundation, started in 1983, raises money to support the Rock’N Roll Hall of Fame Museum and library in Cleveland. Under Peresman’s direction, the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies were brought back to Cleveland in 2009 and will be held there every three years thereafter. Pressman also staged the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts on October 29 and 30, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with U2, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and many others. Broadcast on HBO, the anniversary concerts raised funds to establish an endowment for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.