Considered one of the greatest musicians of his time, Israeli-born violinist Itzhak Perlman moved to the United States after performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” at age 13, and began classes at Juilliard shortly afterward. He has led orchestras, taught college classes and performed all over the world, including at the 2009 presidential inauguration.
“This is the most significant performance in the UGA concert hall this year,” says Michael Heald, associate professor of violin at UGA’s Hodgson School of Music. Heald calls Perlman “the most influential violinist in the world” over the last 60 years.
Perlman is known for his expressive, romantic style of playing, a quality that complements his tendency to chat and joke with the audience between pieces. His amiability endears him to the audience and has become nearly as much a part of his celebrity as his talent.
“He'll come in [with] a whole pile of music, and he'll pick and choose depending on how the audience is,” says Heald. “There is no sense of stoicism or conservatism, [like] you might expect. He's very easy with himself, and he'll make the audience feel at ease with themselves, too.”
Perlman’s performance, along with others—like Yo-Yo Ma earlier this year—is a part of a strategy to raise the credibility of the Performing Arts Center as a major venue for world-class musicians.
“When your audience realizes that you are bringing in the greatest artists in the world, [you] establish a reputation with your audience. Not everyone you bring is going to be a household name, and hopefully they will trust your judgment,” says PAC Director George C. Foreman.
Perlman's performance will include works by Beethoven, Fauré and Stravinsky, along with some yet-unannounced selections. Heald predicts the audience can expect the violinist will display his “joy, love for music-making and connection with human beings.”