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Itzhak Perlman


Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman was born in Tel Aviv, Palestine (now Israel), on August 31, 1945. Despite being stricken with polio and losing the use of his legs at age four, he became a violin virtuoso at a very early age. Chaim Perlman encouraged his son's violin talent and enrolled him at the Music Academy of Tel Aviv. He was still in his pre-teen years when he made his public debut, with the Israel Broadcasting Orchestra.

Perlman was introduced to the general public when he appeared on Ed Sullivan's Caravan of Stars in 1958. He and his family settled in New York City, New York, that same year, and Perlman subsequently earned a scholarship to study at the Julliard School of Music, under Ivan Galamian. He made his professional debut playing Wienawski F-sharp minor Concerto at Carnegie Hall in 1963. His international career was launched in 1964, when he won the Leventritt Memorial Competition, and he has been delighting music lovers ever since.

Perlman has recorded dozens of albums and has performed with virtually every major orchestra in the world. He has also appeared on a number of popular television programs, including "Sesame Street," "The Tonight Show," and "Late Night with David Letterman." In 1993 he collaborated with John Williams on the Academy Award-winning score for Schindler's List.

In addition to performing, Perlman also enjoys cultivating future virtuosos. In 1970 he created a master class in violin at the Meadowbrooks Festival, and he joined the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College in 1975. In 1998 he and his wife founded the Perlman Music Program in 1998 to nurture young musicians, ages 11-18, all of whom get a chance to be taught by Mr. Perlman himself.

On July 4, 1986, Perlman was one of 12 first-generation U.S. citizens to be honored with the Medal of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan, in recognition and appreciation of his contributions to America. In 2003 he was one of five Kennedy Center Honorees -- the others were James Brown, Carol Burnett, Loretta Lynn, and Mike Nichols.

Perlman married Toby Friedlander on December 31, 1966. The couple has five children -- Noah, U.S. attorney; Navah, concert pianist; Leora, singer and caterer; Rami, pop musician; Ariella, flutist.

Itzhak Perlman's official website is

See Also

President Ronald Reagan
Carol Burnett

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The Robinson Library >> Musicians

This page was last updated on 08/31/2018.