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On Center: Itzhak Perlman will share music and memories in multimedia concert

by on September 30, 2019 2:43 PM

Itzhak Perlman will return to Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium November 14 for a special evening of live music (announced from the stage), stories, and projected film and photos celebrating a storied career launched with his televised U.S. debut more than 60 years ago.

The world’s most famous violinist, who will be joined for An Evening with Itzhak Perlman by his longtime pianist Rohan De Silva, enjoys a status not often associated with a classical musician. His remarkable musicianship is equaled by his humor, warmth, and the joy with which he plays with leading orchestras, in recitals, and at major festivals.

“Through humorous vignettes and old movies, Itzhak took us through his youth, even playing some of the early pieces he learned,” writes Paul Pattison, who attended the premiere of An Evening with Itzhak Perlman earlier this year and reviewed it for

The Israeli-born Perlman was just 13 when he first visited the United States to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. He has long been a fixture on television, making appearances on shows as diverse as Sesame Street, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Live from Lincoln Center

This will be the violinist’s fifth concert at Eisenhower. He first performed at the university in a 1971 recital at Schwab Auditorium. Perlman’s most recent appearance in State College was in 2009 when he, Emanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma performed together as a piano trio for the first time. A year earlier, Perlman and De Silva played for a sold-out audience at Eisenhower.

One of the musician’s finest hours came in his performance of the violin solos for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List. He was also the violin soloist for Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha, another movie for which John Williams composed the score.

Perlman was among the musicians who performed Williams’ Air and Simple Gifts on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recognized Perlman in 2003 for the violinist’s contributions to the cultural and educational vitality of America. President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000, while President Reagan bestowed upon him the Medal of Liberty in 1986.

Perlman, who has earned more than a dozen Grammy Awards, made his professional conducting debut in 1997 and has since guided ensembles on several continents.

The musician garnered the most recent of his four Emmy Awards for Fiddling for the Future, a PBS documentary about the Perlman Music Program in New York. Founded in 1995 by Perlman and his wife, Toby, the program educates teenage musicians. The violinist has taught there each summer since it opened.

Itzhak, a 2017 documentary directed by Alison Chernick, takes a look at the life, work, and religious

heritage of Perlman.


Elinor C. Lewis, Pieter W. and Lida Ouwehand, and Dotty Rigby sponsor the concert. For tickets or information, go to or call (814) 863-0255.

John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts.




John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State.
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