BOCA RATON — Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will open the 8th Annual Festival of the Arts Boca in early March, festival officials said today.
The legendary Israeli-born violinist is one of the best-known classical musicians in the world, and is an annual visitor to South Florida, giving three recitals this week in West Palm Beach and Miami. He also appeared twice previously at the Festival of the Arts Boca, once as conductor of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony.
Perlman will play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on opening night March 6 with Festival Orchestra Boca under Constantine Kitsopoulos, music director of the music-and-letters festival at the Mizner Park Amphitheater in downtown Boca Raton.
“To see Itzhak Perlman live is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Charlie Siemon, chair and co-executive producer of the festival.
Perlman will then return on Sunday, March 9, for the Florida premiere of Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul, a new program featuring traditional Jewish and Klezmer music accompanied by Israeli-born cantor, Yitzhak Meir Helfgot, chief cantor at Park Avenue East Synagogue in New York City.
Perlman and Helfgot released an album together last year on Sony Masterworks titled: Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul, which grew out of conversations with Helfgot and ethnomusicologist Hankus Netsky.
“There is so much history in this music,” said Perlman, a son of Polish Zionist pioneers in what is now Israel. “For me, every little musical groan or sob that happens is Jewish history. It makes you think.”
Born in 1945, Perlman was thrust into international recognition after appearing in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. He won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, and has appeared as violin soloist with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the world.
In 2003, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts awarded Perlman a Kennedy Center Honor celebrating his achievements and contributions to the cultural and educational life of the United States.
Perlman is a four-time Emmy Award winner and has won 15 Grammy awards. He also is devoted to education, with his Perlman Music Program and at the Juilliard School, where he holds the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair.
The Festival of the Arts Boca will run from March 6 to 15, and features noted authors Doris Kearns Goodwin, James Fallows and Anna Deveare Smith, along with performances by Latin jazz master Arturo Sandoval, the poperatic trio Forte, and the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company.
The Festival is offering an Early Bird Special with all tickets at $39 for events at the amphitheater, regularly priced up to $125, until Jan. 1. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call: (561) 368-8445 or visit: www.festivaloftheartsboca.org or call tollfree: (866) 571-ARTS.