ITZHAK PERLMAN Biography - Musicians


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Name: Itzhak Perlman                                                                     
Born: 31 August 1945 Tel Aviv, Palestine (now in Israel)                                 
Itzhak Perlman (born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli-American violinist,                 
conductor, and pedagogue. He is one of the most distinguished violinists of the         
late 20th century.                                                                       
Perlman was born in Tel Aviv, Palestine, now Israel, where he first became               
interested in the violin when he heard a classical music performance on the             
radio. He studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv before moving to the               
United States to study at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy           
DeLay. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963 and won the prestigious               
Leventritt Competition in 1964. Soon afterward he began to tour extensively. In         
addition to an extensive recording career, he has made occasional guest                 
appearances on American television, starting in the 1970s on shows such as The           
Tonight Show and Sesame Street, as well as playing at a number of functions at           
the White House.                                                                         
Perlman contracted polio at the age of four. He made a good recovery, learning           
to walk with the use of crutches. Today, he generally uses crutches for mobility         
and plays the violin while seated.                                                       
Although he has never been billed or marketed as a singer, he sang the role of "Un       
carceriere" ("a jailer") on a 1981 EMI recording of Puccini's Tosca which               
featured Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, and Renato Bruson, with James Levine           
conducting. He had earlier sung 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. Perlman is a basso.                                               
In 1987, he joined the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for their concerts in               
Warsaw and Budapest, as well as other Eastern bloc countries. He toured with the         
IPO in the spring of 1990 for their first-ever performance in the USSR, with             
concerts in Moscow and Leningrad, and toured with the IPO again in 1994,                 
performing in China and India.                                                           
While primarily a solo artist, Perlman has performed with a number of other             
notable musicians, including with Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman and Yuri Temirkanov at         
the 150th anniversary celebration of Tchaikovsky in Leningrad in December 1990.         
He has also performed (and recorded with) good friend and fellow Israeli                 
violinist Pinchas Zukerman on numerous occasions over the years.                         
As well as playing and recording the classical music for which he is best known,         
Perlman has also played jazz, including an album made with jazz pianist Oscar           
Peterson, and klezmer. Perlman has been a soloist for a number of movie scores,         
notably the score of the 1993 film Schindler's List by John Williams, which             
subsequently won an Academy Award for best score. More recently, he was the             
violin soloist for the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha, along with cellist Yo-Yo           
Ma. Perlman played selections from the musical scores of the movies nominated           
for "Best Original Score" at the 73rd Academy Awards with Yo-Yo Ma, and at the           
78th Academy Awards.                                                                     
Perlman plays on the antique Soil Stradivarius violin of 1714, considered to be         
one of the finest violins made during Stradivari's "golden period", as well as           
the Sauret Guarneri del Gesu of c.1743.                                                 
In recent years, Perlman has also begun to conduct, taking the post of principal         
guest conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He served as music advisor of         
the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2002-2004. In November, 2007, the               
Westchester Philharmonic announced the appointment of Perlman as Artistic               
Director and Principal Conductor, with his debut performance leading the                 
orchestra to take place in October, 2008.                                               
In 2003, Mr. Perlman was named the holder of the Dorothy Richard Starling               
Foundation Chair in Violin Studies at the Juilliard School, succeeding his               
teacher, Dorothy DeLay.                                                                 
Perlman played during the entertainment at the state dinner attended by Queen           
Elizabeth II on May 7, 2007, in the East Room at the White House.                       
Itzhak Perlman resides in New York City with his wife, Toby, also a classically         
trained violinist. They have five children, Noah, Navah, Leora, Rami (of the             
rock band, Something for Rockets) and Ariella. In 1995, the Perlmans founded the         
Perlman Music Program in Shelter Island, New York, offering gifted young string         
players a summer residential course in chamber music.