Itzhak Perlman was a genius virtuoso violinist who was born in Israel and raised in the United States. Many consider him to be one of the best players in his day's main violin repertoire due to his attention to detail. At the age of four, Perlman developed polio, which rendered his legs crippled. When he was ten years old, he gave his first public performance in Tel Aviv. In 1958, he moved to New York City to research at the Juilliard School with revered professors Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay. In the same year, he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in front of a national television audience. In 1963, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, and a year later, he received the coveted Leventritt Prize, which led to rapid engagements with major American orchestras. (The Leventritt Foundation still won its violin and piano prizes infrequently; the prize's novelty, as well as the prestige of the promised engagements that came with it, set it apart from other competitions.) He performed with klezmer (traditional Jewish dance music) and jazz groups on occasion and nearly the entire classical concert repertoire. In John Williams' Oscar-winning score for the film Schindler's List, he also performed solo violin passages (1993).
He performed as a conductor for several of the world's great orchestras. From 2001 to 2005, he was the Detroit Symphony's principal guest conductor, and from 2002 to 2004, he was St. Louis (Missouri) Symphony's music advisor. Perlman was also a coach, offering violin master lessons daily and cofounding the Perlman Music Program in 1998 with his partner, Toby, to inspire gifted string players aged 12 to 18. Between 1977 and 1995, he won 15 Grammy Awards, and in 2008, he was honored with a Grammy for lifetime achievement. Perlman has since earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, a Kennedy Center Honor, and the United States Medal of Freedom (2015). Itzhak is a documentary on his life and work that was released in 2017.
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