August 31, 2015
Happy 70th birthday, Itzhak Pelman! Great musicians send their well-wishes
“It's hard to imagine Itzhak is turning seventy. As he is a decade my senior, I have always looked up to Itzhak as our string player at the forefront, leading the charge in a new generation of musicians connecting to our contemporary society. I admired the way he was able to maintain a joyous public performing persona, balancing the commitments of his schedule while working with his extraordinary wife Toby to raise and nurture their remarkable children. What courage and persistence!
Later on, their love of music and tradition led Itzhak and Toby to lay the foundations of a cultural family, culminating in the creation of the Perlman Program, which is dedicated to passing on the most cherished values practised in music to a younger generation of eager musicians.
If it is possible to attain earthly happiness and deep fulfilment, it is my hope that Itzhak, through sheer talent, perseverance and immense courage, and the support of loved ones, has done so.
"Itzhak Perlman's recordings were the lullabies of my childhood, especially his albums of Korngold, Bach, Bruch, Lalo and Franck. I've always been enthralled by his smooth tone, his generous vibrato and his expressive style. His versions of the Beethoven and the Brahms, with Carlo Maria Giulini, are the benchmarks as far as I'm concerned. What's so wonderful about Perlman is the relaxed delight he takes in performing. Anyone who's heard him live will never forget those wonderful 'encore' moments, when the pianist would rummage through a pile of scores and pick out - apparently at random - a virtuosic showpiece such as Bazzini's Ronde des lutins, or some other charming miniature that would thrill the audience.
"As well as his love of performing and his endless reserves of energy, he also knows how friendships can be embodied in music, as is so well portrayed in Christopher Nupen's film in which he plays Schubert's 'Trout' Quintet with Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré and Zubin Mehta (on double bass). Today he's still conducting and teaching - happily passing on his expertise to his students. In my eyes, he's one of the most unbelievable violinists of the last hundred years. His exceptional catalogue of recordings is proof of that."
“Itzhak Perlman counts as one of the most captivating interpreters of our era — immaculate technique, consummate stagecraft and an emotional palette of a hundred colours combine in this wonderful artist to make him a unique legend in his own lifetime."
"Itzhak Perlman is one of the most captivating interpreters of our era - immaculate technique, consummate stagecraft, and an emotional palette of a hundred colours combine in this wonderful artist to make him a unique legend in his own lifetime."
Frank Peter Zimmermann
"When I was a little boy, the great virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman was my idol. As a Christmas present in 1974, my father gave me the stunning recordings of Paganini's Caprices and the Mendelssohn/Bruch LP with André Previn. His playing made a tremendous impression on me, and he remains my favourite violinist to this day - especially in terms of his pure delight and joy in making music. His distinctive sound, his infectious passion for his instrument, the infinite facility with which he plays the most virtuosic repertoire. You simply have to love him."
“I've known Itzhak since we were children - we were neighbours in Tel Aviv and I often used to see him around - but it was some time in the late sixties that we met properly. The first time we performed together we played Schubert's Trio No.1 with my first wife, Jacqueline du Pré. Since then we've often played and recorded together: the sonatas of Brahms and Mozart, for example.
”Itzhak is one of the greatest violinists of our time. The courage with which he's faced his disability is truly extraordinary - so many people told him it would be impossible to be a professional musician if he couldn't perform standing up. There's an emotional dimension to every appearance he makes on stage which is simply unique. I remember in particular the way the audience greeted him when he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1970, when I was on the podium. Although his approach to music has evolved over the years, he's always maintained his natural 'virtuosity' - and I use the term in the best possible sense. He's also a devoted family man, in the old Jewish tradition.
"His 70th birthday gives us the opportunity to celebrate a great artist who has courageously overcome the challenges life has thrown at him - a man worthy of all our admiration."
“Itzhak was lucky enough to have been born with a very positive and strong spirit, which he succeeded in developing. This allowed him to always be on top of his handicap. We can all learn from him what determination in life means.
"Itzhak's sweet sound and warm attitude allowed him for decades to send out to the world an important message, underlining in music how beautiful life is, must, and can be. His performances made his admirers happy. They followed a very important impulse his personality was able (maybe even unconsciously) to share with all of us. I am speaking about a very simple but vital idea: 'Never give up! Be strong enough to share beauty with others.' This deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated. The 70th birthday of a remarkable colleague and great violinist of our time provides a wonderful opportunity to do so."
“I will always think on my collaboration with Itzhak Perlman as one of the most gratifying experiences of my artistic life. Recording with this great violinist and musician will always remain in my mind as a most inspiring and creative activity. It really is a joy to make music with friends.”
“I've been so lucky to know Itzhak Perlman for many years. He's a wonderful person and has been my chief musical role model ever since I was a child. I still remember the first time I went to a concert. Perlman was playing the Brahms Violin Concerto at the Berlin Konzerthaus. There's not much left to be said about his outstanding qualities as a violinist. However, many people still have no idea just what a tireless mentor Itzhak has always been to young musicians and all the things he does to help them. I've always admired his commitment in this area, as it shows what a caring and loving person he is.
I owe him (and of course also his wife) a great deal, and I've always considered myself to have a responsibility to pass on to others what I've learned during my studies with him: always to treat people and music with the utmost respect.
Many thanks, Itzhak!”