Itzhak Perlman (born August 31, 1945) (in Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv) is an Israeli violinist and teacher. He is regarded as one of the greatest violinists of the late 20th century, and is certainly one of the most famous. He began to study in Tel Aviv after hearing the violin being played on the radio. During 1987, he joined the Israeli Philharmonic for their concerts in Warsaw and Budapest, as well as other Eastern bloc countries. He joined the Israeli Philharmonic once again in 1990 to play in China and India.
Perlman was born in Jaffa. He contracted polio at the age of four. He made a good recovery, learning to walk with the use of crutches. Today, he generally uses crutches for mobility and plays the violin while seated. He studied at the Academy of Music in Jaffa before moving to the United States to study at the Juilliard School. Perlman made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963.
Soon, Perlman began to tour extensively. He has made a large number of records, and from the 1970s began to appear on shows such as The Tonight Show and Sesame Street, as well as playing at a number of functions at the White House.
Perlman has been a soloist for a number of movie scores. He was the soloist for the score of Schindler's List by John Williams, which subsequently won an Academy Award for Best Score. More recently, he was the violin soloist for Memoirs of a Geisha, along with Yo-Yo Ma.
While being a soloist, Perlman has performed with a number of other famous musicians. Some of these include Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, and Yuri Termirkanov (for the 150th anniversary of Tchaikovsky).
As well as playing and recording the classical music for which he is best known, Perlman has also played jazz and klezmer. Recently, he has also begun to conduct, taking the post of Principal Guest Conductor at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Perlman has received many honors, including Kennedy Center Honors in 2003.
Perlman plays on the famous Soil Strad violin.
Perlman is married to Toby Perlman, who runs the Hampton Summer Music School. They have one son, Rami Perlman who is involved in the band, Something for Rockets