Itzhak Perlman to share music and memories in Nov. 14 multimedia concert

October 17, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Itzhak Perlman will return to Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, for a special evening of live music (announced from the stage), stories, and projected film and photos celebrating a storied career launched with his televised U.S. debut more than 60 years ago.

The world’s most famous violinist, who will be joined for “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” by his longtime pianist Rohan De Silva, enjoys a status not often associated with a classical musician. His remarkable musicianship is equaled by his humor, warmth and the joy with which he plays with leading orchestras, in recitals and at major festivals.

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“Through humorous vignettes and old movies, Itzhak took us through his youth, even playing some of the early pieces he learned,” wrote Paul Pattison, who attended the premiere of “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” earlier this year and reviewed it for KCArtsBeat.com.

“Mr. Perlman’s big break came through American television,” Pattison wrote. “‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ wanted to highlight talent from the new state of Israel, and auditions were held, and of course, Perlman was a finalist and appeared on the show (in 1958). … Studies at Juilliard followed for Perlman and, soon, international recognition.”

Perlman was just 13 when he first visited the United States to perform on Sullivan’s popular variety program. He has long been a fixture on television, making appearances on shows as diverse as “Sesame Street,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Live from Lincoln Center.”

This will be the violinist’s fifth concert at Eisenhower. He first performed at the University in a 1971 recital at Schwab Auditorium. Perlman’s most recent appearance in State College was in 2009 when he, Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma performed together as a piano trio for the first time. A year earlier, Perlman and De Silva played for a sold-out audience at Eisenhower.

One of the Israeli-born musician’s finest hours came in his performance of the violin solos for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List.” He also was the violin soloist for Rob Marshall’s “Memoirs of a Geisha,” another movie for which John Williams composed the score.

Perlman was among the musicians who performed Williams’ “Air and Simple Gifts” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recognized Perlman in 2003 for the violinist’s contributions to the cultural and educational vitality of America. President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000, while President Ronald Reagan bestowed upon him the Medal of Liberty in 1986.

Perlman, who has earned more than a dozen Grammy Awards, made his professional conducting debut in 1997 and has since guided ensembles on several continents.

The musician garnered the most recent of his four Emmy Awards for “Fiddling for the Future,” a PBS documentary about the Perlman Music Program in New York. Founded in 1995 by Perlman and his wife, Toby, the program educates teenage musicians. The violinist has taught there each summer since it opened.

“Itzhak,” a 2017 documentary directed by Alison Chernick, takes a look at the life, work and religious heritage of Perlman.

Elinor C. Lewis, Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand, and Dotty Rigby sponsor the concert.

Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before the performance.

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  • A man sitting in front of a piano smiles and looks to his left.

    Pianist Rohan De Silva is the longtime pianist for world-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.

    IMAGE: John Beebe

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 17, 2019