By Ted Rajchel

Itzhak Perlman — Great Classical Violinist

Itzhak Perlman

Background

Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. He has a great charm and humanity, as well as a remarkable talent. He is loved by audiences throughout the world, who respond to his artistry and his irrepressible joy of making beautiful music. This is the way he communicates to the world. He showed great musical aptitude early in life; due to polio, his legs became permanently paralyzed at the age of 4. Despite doctors’ skeptical forecasts about the possibilities of pursuing music, the young Perlman put his heart into music and persevered. In January 2009 Mr. Perlman was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams and performed with clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Gabriela Montero, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In December 2003 the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts granted Mr. Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation. In May 2007 he performed at the state dinner for Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush at the White House. Itzhak Perlman is a Grammy and Emmy award-winning classical musician, highly revered for his work as a violinist and conductor.

Early Life

He was born in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 31, 1945, then a British mandate of Palestine, now Israel. His parents, Chaim and Shoshana Perlman, were natives of Poland and had independently immigrated to Palestine in the mid-1930s before they met. Later they married. Perlman first became interested in the violin after hearing a classical music performance on the radio. At the age of three, he was denied admission to the Shulamit Conservatory for being too small to hold a violin. He instead taught himself how to play the instrument using a toy fiddle until he was old enough to study with Rivka Goldgat at the Shulamit Conservatory and the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, where the game his first recital at age 10, before moving to the United States to study at the Juilliard School with the violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian and his assistant Dorothy Delay. Perlman contracted polio at age four. He made a good recovery, learning to walk with crutches. As of 2018, he uses crutches or an electric Amigo scooter for mobility and plays the violin while seated. He came to New York and soon was received into the international arena with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Mr. Perlman won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a worldwide career. Since that time Itzhak Perlman has appeared with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the world.

Frequent Presence on the Conductors Podium

He has performed as a conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestras of San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Montreal, and Toronto, as well as at the Ravinia and Ok Mozart Festivals. He was music advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004 where he made regular conducting appearances, and he was the principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2001 to 2005.

Internationally, Mr. Perlman has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, The English Chamber Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic. He joined the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall under music director Alan Gilbert in their season-opening concert to be televised on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. In October 2012 Mr. Perlman traveled to South America for recitals in Peru, Brazil, and Argentina with pianist Rohan DeSilva.

Major Presence on Television

Itzhak Perlman has been honored with four Emmy awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about the Perlman music program and his work as a teacher and conductor. In July of 2004, PBS aired a special entitled Perlman in Shanghai, which chronicled a historic and un

Background

Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. He has a great charm and humanity, as well as a remarkable talent. He is loved by audiences throughout the world, who respond to his artistry and his irrepressible joy of making beautiful music. This is the way he communicates to the world. He showed great musical aptitude early in life; due to polio, his legs became permanently paralyzed at the age of 4. Despite doctors’ skeptical forecasts about the possibilities of pursuing music, the young Perlman put his heart into music and persevered. In January 2009 Mr. Perlman was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams and performed with clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Gabriela Montero, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In December 2003 the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts granted Mr. Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation. In May 2007 he performed at the state dinner for Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush at the White House. Itzhak Perlman is a Grammy and Emmy award-winning classical musician, highly revered for his work as a violinist and conductor.

Early Life

He was born in Tel Aviv, Israel on August 31, 1945, then a British mandate of Palestine, now Israel. His parents, Chaim and Shoshana Perlman, were natives of Poland and had independently immigrated to Palestine in the mid-1930s before they met. Later they married. Perlman first became interested in the violin after hearing a classical music performance on the radio. At the age of three, he was denied admission to the Shulamit Conservatory for being too small to hold a violin. He instead taught himself how to play the instrument using a toy fiddle until he was old enough to study with Rivka Goldgat at the Shulamit Conservatory and the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, where the game his first recital at age 10, before moving to the United States to study at the Juilliard School with the violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian and his assistant Dorothy Delay. Perlman contracted polio at age four. He made a good recovery, learning to walk with crutches. As of 2018, he uses crutches or an electric Amigo scooter for mobility and plays the violin while seated. He came to New York and soon was received into the international arena with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Mr. Perlman won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a worldwide career. Since that time Itzhak Perlman has appeared with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the world.

Frequent Presence on the Conductors Podium

He has performed as a conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestras of San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Montreal, and Toronto, as well as at the Ravinia and Ok Mozart Festivals. He was music advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004 where he made regular conducting appearances, and he was the principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2001 to 2005.

Internationally, Mr. Perlman has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, The English Chamber Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic. He joined the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall under music director Alan Gilbert in their season-opening concert to be televised on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. In October 2012 Mr. Perlman traveled to South America for recitals in Peru, Brazil, and Argentina with pianist Rohan DeSilva.

Major Presence on Television

Itzhak Perlman has been honored with four Emmy awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about the Perlman music program and his work as a teacher and conductor. In July of 2004, PBS aired a special entitled Perlman in Shanghai, which chronicled a historic and unforgettable visit of the Perlman music program to China, featuring interaction between American and Chinese students and culminating in a concert at The Shanghai Grand Theater and a performance with one thousand young violinists, led by Mr. Perlman and broadcast throughout China.  Mr. Perlman’s third Emmy award recognized his dedication to Klezmer music, as profiled in the 1995 PBS television special In the Fiddle’s House, which was filmed in Poland and featured him performing with four of the world’s finest Klezmer bands.unforgettable visit of the Perlman music program to China, featuring interaction between American and Chinese students and culminating in a concert at The Shanghai Grand Theater and a performance with one thousand young violinists, led by Mr. Perlman and broadcast throughout China.  Mr. Perlman’s third Emmy award recognized his dedication to Klezmer music, as profiled in the 1995 PBS television special In the Fiddle’s House, which was filmed in Poland and featured him performing with four of the world’s finest Klezmer bands.

Performing Career

Perlman appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show twice in 1958, and again in 1964, on the same show with the Rolling Stones.  He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963.  Soon he began to tour widely.  In addition to an extensive recording and performing career, he has continued to make guest appearances on American television shows such as The Tonight Show and Sesame Street, as well as playing at a number of functions at the White House.  Although he has never been billed as a singer, he sang the role of “Un Carceriere” (“a jailer”) on a 1981 recording of Puccini’s “Tosca” that featured Placido Domingo with James Levine conducting.  He had earlier sang the role in an excerpt from the opera on a 1980 pension fund benefit concert telecast as part of the Live From Lincoln Center series with Luciano Pavarotti as Cavaradossi and Zubin Mehta conducting the New York Philharmonic. On July 5, 1986, he performed on the New York Philharmonic’s tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, which was televised live on ABC television in the United States.  The orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was performed in Central Park, New York City.  In 1987 he joined the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts in Warsaw and Budapest as well as other cities in Eastern bloc countries. His first ever performance in the Soviet Union with concerts in Moscow and Leningrad was in 1990.  In 2015 on a classical music program entitled The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center produced by WQXR in New York City, it was revealed that Perlman performed the uncredited violin solo on the 1989 Billy Joel song, The Downeaster Alexa.  One of Mr. Perlman’s proudest achievements was in his collaboration with film score composer John Williams in Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List, in which he performed the violin solos.
Many Paid Tribute to Perlman

Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Roosevelt, in Chicago, Yeshiva, and Hebrew Universities are among the institutions which have honored him with honorary degrees.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate in  May 2005.  President Reagan honored Mr. Perlman with a “Medal of Liberty”.  December 2000 President Clinton awarded Mrs. Perlman the “National Medal of Arts”.  His presence on stage, on camera, and in personal appearances of all kinds speaks very eloquently on behalf of the disabled, and his devotion to their cause is an integral part of Mr. Perlman’s life.

Personal Life
Perlman resides in New York City with his wife, Toby, also a classically trained violinist. They have five children:  Noah, Navah, Leora, Rami, and Ariella.  Perlman is a distant cousin of Canadian comic and TV personality Howie Mandel.
References:1. Itzhak Perlman—Wikipedia
2. Itzhak Perlman—Songwriter, conductor—Biography
3. About Itzhak Perlman
4. Documentary Shows Itzhak Perlman as a Viruoso Violinist
5. Itzhak Perlman–Biography .0

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