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Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman is known for his brilliant technique, direct interpretation and precision in detail. He has an international reputation as an outstanding violinist of the 19th and 20th century repertoire. At age four, he lost the use of his legs due to polio. Shortly after that he began violin lessons at Shulamit High School in Tel-Aviv. By age ten he was performing in concerts and recitals with the Israel Broadcasting Orchestra. After winning a talent competition to appear on American television, he obtained scholarships and awards that allowed him to stay in New York and study at the Juilliard School with Galamian. He made his professional debute at Carnegie Hall, and in 1964 he won the Leventritt Memorial Competition. These accomplishments led to engagements with many American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic. Perlman toured his native Israel in 1965, performing concerts throughout and made his British debut in 1968 at Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra. He participated in the London South Bank Summer Music Series in 1968-9 and created a master class in violin at Meadowbrooks Festival, USA, in 1970.
Itzhak Perlman (Hebrew: יצחק פרלמן; born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is regarded as one of the preeminent violinists of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Early life 
Perlman was born in Tel Aviv, then British Mandate of Palestine, now Israel. His parents, Chaim and Shoshana Perlman, were natives of Poland and had independently immigrated to Palestine in the mid 1930s before they met and got married. Perlman first became interested in the violin after hearing a classical music performance on the radio. At the age of three, he was denied entrance to the Shulamit Conservatory for being too small to hold a violin. He instead taught himself how to play the instrument using a toy fiddle until he was old enough to study with Rivka Goldgart at the Shulamit Conservatory and at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, where he gave his first recital at age 10, before moving to the United States to study at the Juilliard School with the violin pedagogue Ivan Galamian and his assistant Dorothy DeLay.
Perlman contracted polio at the age of four. He made a good recovery, learning to walk with crutches. Today, he uses crutches or an electric Amigo scooter for mobility and plays the violin while seated.
Performing Ed Sullivan congratulates Itzhak Perlman after a concert (1958)
Perlman was introduced to the wider American public when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show twice in 1958. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963 and won the Leventritt Competition in 1964. Soon afterward, he began to tour widely. In addition to an extensive recording and performance career, he has continued to make guest appearances on American television shows such as The Tonight Show and Sesame Street as well as playing at a number of functions at the White House.
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 that featured Renata Scotto, Plácido 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.
On July 5, 1986, he performed on the New York Philharmonic's tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, which was televised live on ABC Television. The orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, performed in Central Park.
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 its first-ever performance in the Soviet Union, 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 Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Isaac Stern, 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.
Notable performances 
Perlman played at the state dinner attended by Queen Elizabeth II on May 7, 2007, in the East Room at the White House.
He performed John Williams's "Air and Simple Gifts" at the 2009 inauguration ceremony for Barack Obama along with Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano), and Anthony McGill (clarinet). While the quartet did play live, the music played simultaneously over speakers and on television was a recording made two days prior due to concerns over the cold weather damaging the instruments. Perlman was quoted as saying: "It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way". Additionally, he has twice performed as a Pennington Great Performers series artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and 2007.
Perlman plays using the antique Soil Stradivarius violin of 1714, formerly owned by Yehudi Menuhin and considered to be one of the finest violins made during Stradivari's "golden period." Perlman also plays the Sauret Guarneri del Gesu of c. 1743.
In recent years, Perlman has begun to conduct, taking the post of principal guest conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He served as music advisor to the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2002 to 2004. In November 2007, the Westchester Philharmonic announced the appointment of Perlman as artistic director and principal conductor. His first concert in these roles was on October 11, 2008, in an all-Beethoven program featuring pianist Leon Fleisher performing the Emperor Concerto.
In 1975, Perlman accepted a faculty post at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College. 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. He also currently instructs pupils on a one-on-one basis at the Perlman Music Program on Long Island, NY, rarely holding master classes. He also taught at a community center in Be'er Sheba, Israel, Perlman generously shares his knowledge with the public outside of formal teaching positions as well. On March 19th, 2011, for example, prior to his performance at the Lila Cockrell Theater in downtown San Antonio, TX, Itzhak Perlman met with music lovers of all ages, including local youth orchestras, for a free question-and-answer session moderated by Dr. Eugene Dowdy, associate professor and head of orchestral studies at UT San Antonio. During the teaching session, at Antonio Strad Violin, Perlman educated both children and adults with his answers to questions on technique and playing fitness and his unique tales of performers today.
The Perlman Music Program 
The Perlman music program, founded in 1995 by Toby Perlman and Suki Sandler, started as a summer camp for exceptional string musicians between the ages of 11 and 18. Over time, it expanded to be offered year-long. The program allows the students the chance to be coached by Itzhak Perlman himself before playing at venues such as the Sutton Place Synagogue and public schools. By introducing students to each other and requiring practice sessions together, musicians who would otherwise be practicing alone develop a network of friends and colleagues in the profession. Rather than remain isolated, participants in the program find an area where they belong.
Personal life 
Perlman resides in New York City with his wife, Toby, also a classically trained violinist. They have five children: Noah, Navah, Leora, Rami and Ariella. Perlman is a distant cousin to Canadian comic/TV personality Howie Mandel.
Honors and awards Leventritt Competition – Winner (1964)Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance: Daniel Barenboim & Itzhak Perlman for Brahms: The Three Violin Sonatas (1991)Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lynn Harrell & Itzhak Perlman for Beethoven: The Complete Piano Trios (1988)Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lynn Harrell & Itzhak Perlman for Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor (1982)Itzhak Perlman & Pinchas Zukerman for Music for Two Violins (Moszkowski: Suite For Two Violins/Shostakovich: Duets/Prokofiev: Sonata for Two Violins) (1981)Itzhak Perlman & Vladimir Ashkenazy for Beethoven: Sonatas for Violin and Piano (1979)Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra)Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra)Grammy Award for Best Classical AlbumKennedy Center Honors in 2003April 1980: Newsweek magazine featured Mr. Perlman with a cover story.1986: Honored with the Medal of Liberty by President Reagan.2000: Awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
In 2005, he was voted the 135th greatest Israeli of all time in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 greatest Israelis.