Itzhak Perlman

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Essential Albums

  • Beethoven: Violin Concerto

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About Itzhak Perlman

When the 13-year-old Itzhak Perlman made his sensational American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958, performing the finale of Mendelssohn’s E minor Concerto, the essentials of his distinctive playing style were remarkably already in place: the look of sublime contentment when playing, the relaxed sweep of his bowing arm (the little finger often nonchalantly raised), the seemingly effortless accuracy of his playing fingers, his interpretative warmth and charm, and a luxurious sound of soulful intensity. Born in Tel Aviv in 1945, Perlman overcame the effects of contracting polio aged four (he always plays seated) by teaching himself the violin. Lessons with Rivka Goldgart in Tel Aviv and (from 1958) Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School in New York sensitively nurtured his extraordinary gifts, so that by the time he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963, he was already a world-class virtuoso. His natural charisma and can-do approach caught the zeitgeist of the ’60s and found its natural place playing alongside fabled pianist-conductors Daniel Barenboim and Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinist-violist Pinchas Zukerman, and cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Perlman’s concerto and chamber music recordings reflect the extraordinary breadth of his repertoire, from Bach and Beethoven to Shostakovich and Berg. Yet perhaps his greatest gift is to make music on the lighter side of the creative spectrum—including three discs devoted to Fritz Kreisler and several more (two titled Encores) to virtuoso miniatures—sound like minted gold.

Tel Aviv, Israel
August 31, 1945

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