Itzhak Perlman is a violin virtuoso without equal and one of classical music’s few superstars. Perlman, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in November 2015, is known for his artistry and the joy with which he makes music. With his incredibly rare and valuable 1714 Soil Stradivarius violin, Itzhak Perlman has performed in venues across the world including at a State Dinner at the White House honoring Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a Presidential Inauguration.
Itzhak Perlman was born in Israel and studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He received an America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship and came to New York where he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, the showcase for talent in so many areas. He studied at Juilliard and won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, when he was 19, and his place as a classical superstar was set. He has appeared numerous times at the White House, received the Kennedy Center Honors and performed at a State Dinner in 2007, hosted by President and Mrs. Bush for Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. For President Obama’s 2009 Inaugural, he premiered a piece written for the occasion by John Williams alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriela Montero. He also worked with Williams for Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List, in which he performed the violin solos.
Perlman, who has won 16 Grammy Awards as a performer and is the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, is also well-known as a conductor. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, and virtually every other top-flight symphony in the United States. He was musical advisor to the St. Louis Symphony from 2002-2004 and was principal guest conductor for the Detroit Symphony from 2001-2005. He is also well-known to audiences abroad as a guest conductor.
Recently, Perlman has appeared in collaboration with several friends, including recitals with Pinchas Zukerman. In October 2017, he and Zukerman reunited with Zubin Mehta in a gala at Carnegie Hall with the Israel Philharmonic, celebrating that group’s 80th anniversary. He appears regularly with pianist Rohan De Silva and in 2017-2018, recitals took them across North America and on a 10-city tour of Asia.
Perlman is the subject of a new documentary, Itzhak, which premiered in October 2017 as the opening film for the 2017 Hamptons International Film Festival. The documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Alison Chernick, details Perlman’s struggles as a polio survivor and a Jewish émigré and serves to remind us of why art is vital to life. The film is scheduled for national release in 2018.
The violinist has expanded the reach of classical music through television, and he has won four Emmy Awards, most recently for the PBS documentary, Fiddling for the Future. He has also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, Sesame Street, The Frugal Gourmet, and Live from Lincoln Center.
For the past two decades, Perlman has been involved with music education, encouraging gifted young string players. With his wife Toby, he has been involved with the Perlman Music Program and he holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair at the Juilliard School.
Joining Itzhak Perlman for his performance is collaborative pianist Rohan De Silva. De Silva has partnered with some of the most notable violinists in the world, including Joshua Bell, Pinchas Zukerman, and Midori. Rohan De Silva teaches masterclasses in collaborative piano at the Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan, and was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music in 2015.