Itzhak Perlman and Rohan De Silva
Please note per Itzhak Perlman’s request: Masking is strongly encouraged for all audience members attending the Itzhak Perlman performance.
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. A polio survivor, he is also an ardent advocate for people with disabilities.
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. 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 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.
In May 2021, Perlman began a three-season partnership with the Houston Symphony as Artistic Partner. The first program featured him leading the orchestra in a play/conduct all-Beethoven program, in celebration of the composer’s 250th anniversary. In 2021-2022, he opened the Baltimore Symphony season, performed at the New York Philharmonic’s 2021 Season Gala, and brought to life a new program. “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” which captures the highlights of his career through narrative and multi-media elements.
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.
Appearing with Mr. Perlman, Rohan De Silva has also partnered with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, Joshua Bell, Gil Shahan. Nadja Salerno -Sonnenberg and Rodney Friend in widely acclaimed recitals around the world. Alongside Itzhak Perlman, he has performed multiple times at the White House, including a 2012 appearance at the invitation of President and Mrs. Obama for Israeli President and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Shimon Peres. He also performed at the White House at a State Dinner hosted by George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush for Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
De Silva spent six years at the Royal Academy of Music in London and received many awards. He was the first recipient of a special scholarship in the arts from the President’s Fund of Sri Lanka. This enabled him to enter the Juilliard School. He was awarded Best Accompanist at the Ninth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and received the Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award, fittingly presented to him by Itzhak Perlman at Carnegie Hall.