American Masters: Itzhak Perlman

American Masters: Itzhak Perlman

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 8:00pm - 9:30pm

Itzhak Perlman


Explore the life of Itzhak Perlman, the famous Jewish violinist, a transcendent performer and polio survivor.

Director Alison Chernick’s new documentary provides an intimate, cinĂ©ma vĂ©ritĂ© look at the remarkable life and career of this musician, widely considered the world’s greatest violinist. American Masters: Itzhak Perlman airs Friday, June 18, 2021 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to Brahms, Mozart to…Billy Joel, Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing transcends mere performance to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life. The hour and a half documentary features new interviews with the world-renowned violinist, his family, friends, and colleagues including Billy Joel, Alan Alda, pianist Martha Argerich, and cellist Mischa Maisky.

The hour-and-a-half film looks beyond the 16-time Grammy-winning musician to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel, and the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability. In the film, Perlman’s life story unfolds through conversations with fellow musicians, friends, and his wife of 50 years, Toby. The Perlmans dedicate their lives to their large Jewish family in New York City, shared love for music and continual support of young musicians. American Masters: Itzhak is a portrait of musical virtuosity that explores themes of Jewish identity, Jewish history, humor and love.

This program is part of Move to Include, a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation, designed to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.