Itzhak Perlman’s First Recital In NYC In 7 Years
I asked Itzhak Perlman about all the awards he has – including but hardly limited to a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his distinguished achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of our nation, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts, a Medal of Liberty from President Reagan and a National Medal of Arts from President Clinton – and he told me he has them in a room. Sometimes he dusts them but he is the same post-award as he was pre-award. His most recent one came just weeks ago in San Diego where he was honored with the Salk Medal for Public Service for his extraordinary efforts to bring about the world-wide eradication of polio. He performed there as well and thanks to the Salk Institute for sharing the video.
He’s a New Yorker – having moved here as a child from his native Tel Aviv – to study at Juilliard.
He joined the faculty himself at Juilliard about fifteen years ago and that’s where we spoke. He also teaches at his music program for young people that was founded by his wife Toby twenty years ago. He’s been a celebrity for a long time. He was on the Ed Sullivan show the same evening as The Rolling Stones in 1964 and performed with the New York Philharmonic to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in Central Park in 1986.
Perlman gave the impression of being at ease in his own skin. He’s quick with a joke and is easy to speak to in addition to being the premier violinist in the world. The “tomorrow night” reference to his performance at Lincoln Center is to his recital there on Wednesday, December 3rd 2014.
When we finished our conversation he said, “Eric – out of all the interviews I’ve ever done – that was the most recent!”