The reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. Beloved as much for his charm and humanity as his talent, he is treasured by audiences who respond to his remarkable artistry and to his irrepressible joy of making music.
Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. Beloved for his charm and humanity as well as his talent, he is treasured by audiences throughout the world who respond not only to his remarkable artistry, but also to his irrepressible joy for making music.
Having performed with every major orchestra and at venerable concert halls around the globe, Itzhak Perlman was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor, in November 2015 by President Obama for his meritorious contributions to cultural endeavors of the United States and for being a powerful advocate for people of disabilities. In June 2016, he received the 2016 Genesis Prize in recognition for his exceptional contributions as a musician, teacher, advocate for individuals with special needs and dedication to Jewish values. In 2003, he was granted a Kennedy Center Honor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in celebration of his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of the United States. President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and President Reagan honored him with a Medal of Liberty in 1986.
Mr. Perlman has performed multiple times at the White House, most recently in 2012 at the invitation of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama, for Israeli President and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Shimon Peres; and at a State Dinner in 2007, hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush, for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. In 2009, he was honored to take part in the Inauguration of President Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriela Montero, for an audience of nearly 40 million television viewers in the United States and millions more throughout the world.
Born in Israel in 1945, Mr. Perlman completed his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. An early recipient of an America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship, he came to New York and soon was propelled to national recognition with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Following his studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, he won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a burgeoning worldwide career. Since then, Itzhak Perlman has established himself as a cultural icon and household name in classical music.
Mr. Perlman has further delighted audiences through his frequent appearances on the conductor’s podium. He has performed as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Montreal and Toronto, as well as at the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals. He was Music Advisor of the St. Louis Symphony from 2002 to 2004 where he made regular conducting appearances, and he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2001 to 2005. Internationally, Mr. Perlman has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic.
Mr. Perlman’s 2017-18 season features several key collaborations and appearances. He and legendary pianist Martha Argerich embark on their first-ever tour together to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York. He additionally reunites with longtime friend and collaborator Pinchas Zukerman in recitals at Boston, Newark, Miami and West Palm Beach. In October 2017, he and Zukerman return to the stage of Carnegie Hall with Zubin Mehta in a gala appearance with the Israel Philharmonic, celebrating the orchestra’s 80th anniversary. Throughout the season, he makes appearances with his regular collaborator, pianist Rohan De Silva, in recitals across North America plus a 10-city recital tour to Asia which takes them to Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul and beyond. On the orchestral front, Mr. Perlman leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony in play/conduct programs, and he performs special gala concerts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ft. Worth Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony.
Further to his engagements as violinist and conductor, Mr. Perlman is increasingly making more appearances as a speaker. Recent speaking engagements include appearances in Texas at Lamar University, South Dakota with the John Vucurevich Foundation and a 2017 engagement in Washington D.C. for the Marriott Foundation.
Itzhak Perlman’s recordings have garnered 16 GRAMMY® Awards and regularly appear on the best-seller charts. In 2008, Mr. Perlman was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts.
Mr. Perlman’s most recent album features him in a special collaboration with Martha Argerich. Released in 2016 by Warner Classics, it marked a historic first studio album for this legendary duo exploring masterpieces by Bach, Schumann and Brahms. It had been 18 years since their first album, a live recital from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. On that momentous occasion in 1998, in addition to recording the material for their initial disc, the pair recorded Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1. The Schumann Sonata at long last was released in 2016 alongside new material, making the album a fascinating ‘then and now’ portrait of how two living legends have evolved musically.
Mr. Perlman recorded a bonus track for the original cast recording of the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, released on Broadway Records in March 2016. The cast recording features Perlman on a track titled “Excerpts from Fiddler on the Roof,” arranged by John Williams.
The year of 2015 brought three record releases in celebration of Mr. Perlman’s 70th birthday: A new Deutsche Grammophon album with pianist Emanuel Ax performing Fauré and Strauss Sonatas, a 25-disc box set of his complete Deutsche Grammophon and Decca discography, and a 77-disc box set of his complete EMI/Teldec discography titled Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings.
In 2012, Sony released Eternal Echoes: Songs & Dances for the Soul, featuring a collaboration with acclaimed cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot in liturgical and traditional Jewish arrangements for chamber orchestra and klezmer musicians, and in 2010, Sony released a recording of Mendelssohn Piano Trios with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax. Highlights of albums over the last two decades have included a Deutsche Grammophon album with Mr. Perlman conducting the Israel Philharmonic, a live recording with Martha Argerich performing Beethoven and Franck Sonatas (EMI); Cinema Serenade featuring popular hits from movies with John Williams conducting (Sony); A la Carte, a recording of short violin pieces with orchestra (EMI) and In the Fiddler’s House, a celebration of klezmer music (EMI) that formed the basis of the PBS television special. In 2004, EMI released The Perlman Edition, a limited-edition 15-CD box set featuring many of his finest EMI recordings as well as newly compiled material, and RCA Red Seal released a CD titled Perlman rediscovered, which includes material recorded in 1965 by a young Itzhak Perlman. Other recordings reveal Mr. Perlman’s devotion to education, including Concertos from my Childhood with the Juilliard Orchestra under Lawrence Foster (EMI) and Marita and her Heart’s Desire, composed and conducted by Bruce Adolphe (Telarc).
A major presence in the performing arts on television, Itzhak Perlman has been honored with four Emmy Awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about Mr. Perlman’s work as a teacher and conductor for the Perlman Music Program. In 2004, PBS aired a special entitled Perlman in Shanghai that chronicled a historic and unforgettable visit of the Perlman Music Program to China, featuring interaction between American and Chinese students and culminating in a concert at the Shanghai Grand Theater and a performance with one thousand young violinists, led by Mr. Perlman and broadcast throughout China. His third Emmy Award recognized his dedication to klezmer music, as profiled in the 1995 PBS television special In the Fiddler's House, which was filmed in Poland and featured him performing with four of the world’s finest klezmer bands.
Mr. Perlman has entertained and enlightened millions of TV viewers of all ages on popular shows as diverse as The Late Show with David Letterman, Sesame Street, The Frugal Gourmet, The Tonight Show, and various Grammy Awards telecasts. His PBS appearances have included A Musical Toast and Mozart by the Masters, as well as numerous Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts such as The Juilliard School: Celebrating 100 Years. In 2008, he joined renowned chef Jacques Pépin on Artist’s Table to discuss the relationship between the culinary and musical arts, and lent his voice as the narrator of Visions of Israel for PBS’s acclaimed Visions series. Mr. Perlman hosted the 1994 U.S. broadcast of the Three Tenors, Encore! live from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. During the 78th Annual Academy Awards in 2006, he performed a live medley from the five film scores nominated in the category of Best Original Score for a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions. One of Mr. Perlman’s proudest achievements is his collaboration with film composer John Williams in Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List, in which he performed the violin solos. He can also be heard as the violin soloist on the soundtrack of Zhang Yimou’s film Hero (music by Tan Dun) and Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (music by John Williams).
Mr. Perlman has a long association with the Israel Philharmonic and has participated in many groundbreaking tours with this orchestra from his homeland. In 1987, he joined the IPO for history-making concerts in Warsaw and Budapest, representing the first performances by this orchestra and soloist in Eastern bloc countries. He again made history as he joined the orchestra for its first visit to the Soviet Union in 1990, and was cheered by audiences in Moscow and Leningrad who thronged to hear his recital and orchestral performances. This visit was captured on a PBS documentary entitled Perlman in Russia, which won an Emmy. In 1994, Mr. Perlman joined the Israel Philharmonic for their first visits to China and India.
Over the past two decades, Mr. Perlman has become actively involved in music education, using this opportunity to encourage gifted young string players. Alongside his wife Toby, his close involvement in the Perlman Music Program has been a particularly rewarding experience, and he has taught full-time at the Program each summer since its founding in 1993. Mr. Perlman currently holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair at the Juilliard School.
Numerous publications and institutions have paid tribute to Itzhak Perlman for the unique place he occupies in the artistic and humanitarian fabric of our times. Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Roosevelt, Yeshiva and Hebrew universities are among the institutions that have awarded him honorary degrees. He was awarded an honorary doctorate and a centennial medal on the occasion of Juilliard’s 100th commencement ceremony in 2005. Itzhak Perlman’s presence on stage, on camera, and in personal appearances of all kinds speaks eloquently on behalf of the disabled, and his devotion to their cause is an integral part of his life.
Rohan De Silva
Rohan De Silva’s partnerships with violin virtuosos Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Cho-Liang Lin, Midori, Joshua Bell, Benny Kim, Kyoko Takezawa, Vadim Repin, Gil Shaham, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Julian Rachlin, James Ehnes and Rodney Friend have led to highly acclaimed performances at recital venues all over the world. With these and other artists he has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Philadelphia Academy of Music, Ambassador Theater in Los Angeles, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, La Scala in Milan and in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Mr. De Silva’s festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Interlochen, Seattle Chamber Music, Manchester, Schleswig-Holstein, Pacific Music Festival and the Wellington Arts Festival in New Zealand. He has performed chamber music in Beijing with the American String Quartet and has appeared in recital worldwide with Itzhak Perlman.
Alongside Mr. Perlman, Mr. De Silva has performed multiple times at the White House, most recently in 2012 at the invitation of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama for Israeli President and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Shimon Peres; and at a State Dinner in 2007, hosted by President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. A native of Sri Lanka, Mr. De Silva was invited in 2015 by the Prime Minister of his country to perform at a luncheon for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on his historic visit to Sri Lanka.
In the 2017-18 season, Mr. De Silva will perform recitals with Mr. Perlman across America and return on tour to Asia visiting Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea. Mr. De Silva will perform recitals with Mr. Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman in Boston, Newark, Miami and West Palm Beach.
In recent seasons, Mr. De Silva toured with Mr. Perlman in sold-out concerts throughout Asia and to Europe in their first appearances as a duo in London (Barbican Centre), Paris (Philharmonie de Paris) and Munich (Gasteig). In North America, he has performed with Mr. Perlman at notable venues including Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Lyric Opera, West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center and Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, to name a few. Over the summer, at the invitation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mr. De Silva performed for an exclusive guest list at the Supreme Court with Mr. Perlman in Washington D.C. Mr. De Silva also performed at Center Stage for Strings in Michigan, Innsbrook Institute in Missouri and Maui Music Festival in Hawaii.
Mr. De Silva began his piano studies with his mother, the late Primrose De Silva, and with the late Mary Billimoria. He spent six years at the Royal Academy of Music in London as a student of Hamish Milne, Sydney Griller and Wilfred Parry. While in London, he received many awards including the Grover Bennett Scholarship, the Christian Carpenter Prize, the Martin Music Scholarship, the Harold Craxton Award for advanced study in England, and, upon his graduation, the Chappell Gold Medal for best overall performance at the Royal Academy. Mr. De Silva 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, where he received both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, studying piano with Martin Canin, chamber music with Felix Galimir, and working closely with violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. He was awarded a special prize as Best Accompanist at the 1990 Ninth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and received the Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artist Award as presented to him by Itzhak Perlman at the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. De Silva joined the collaborative arts and chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School in 1991, and in 1992 was awarded honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2015, he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2001, he joined the faculty at the Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan, where he gives masterclasses in collaborative piano. Mr. De Silva additionally has served as a faculty member at the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing, China, and at the International String Academy in Cambridge, U.K. since 2011. He was on the faculty of the Perlman Music Program from 2000 to 2007. Radio and television credits include PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center and the Colbert Report with Itzhak Perlman, The Tonight Show with Midori, CNN’s “Showbiz Today”, NHK Television in Japan, National Public Radio, WQXR and WNYC in New York, Berlin Radio, and the 2000 Millennium Grammy Awards. Mr. De Silva has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Universal, CBS/SONY Classical, Collins Classics in London and RCA Victor.