Born in Israel in 1945, Itzhak Perlman studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay and won the Leventritt Competition in 1964. Mr. Perlman made his San Francisco Symphony debut as a soloist in 1969, and his podium debut here in 2001.
In November 2015, President Obama awarded Mr. Perlman a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor. He has also received the 2016 Genesis Prize and in 2003, he was granted a Kennedy Center Honor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and President Reagan honored him with a Medal of Liberty in 1986. Mr. Perlman has performed multiple times at the White House, and in 2009, he was honored to take part in the Inauguration of President Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and pianist Gabriela Montero.
The 2018-19 season features performances with pianist Evgeny Kissin in Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. Mr. Perlman also makes appearances with his regular collaborator, Rohan De Silva, in recitals across North America. On the orchestral front, he performs with the Indianapolis, Colorado, and Vancouver symphonies. Recent highlights include recitals with longtime friend and collaborator Pinchas Zukerman and Rohan De Silva throughout the US; engagements playing/conducting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the SFS; and gala concerts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Winnipeg Symphony.
Mr. Perlman’s recordings have garnered sixteen Grammy awards and he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. His latest album, a joint project with with Martha Argerich features masterpieces by Bach, Schumann, and Brahms (Warner Classics). Other recent recordings include a twenty-five-disc box set of his complete Deutsche Grammophon and Decca discography, and a seventy-seven-disc box set of his complete EMI/Teldec discography titled Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings, both released in celebration of Mr. Perlman’s seventieth birthday in 2015.
Mr. Perlman has been honored with four Emmy Awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about his work as a teacher and conductor for the Perlman Music Program. His third Emmy Award recognized his dedication to klezmer music, as profiled in the 1995 PBS television special In the Fiddler's House; he brings this program to Davies Symphony Hall in January 2019. Mr. Perlman was also subject of the recent documentary Itzhak.
One of Mr. Perlman’s proudest achievements is his collaboration with film composer John Williams in Steven Spielberg’s Academy award-winning film Schindler’s List. He can also be heard as the violin soloist on the soundtrack of Zhang Yimou’s film Hero (music by Tan Dun) and Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (music by John Williams).