Photo by Lisa-Marie-Mazzucco

An infectious smile, his focused intensity and, of course, that magnificent violin sound; there is no one quite like Itzhak Perlman. Some call Perlman the greatest living violinist. A new film documentary by director Alison Chernick called Itzhak sheds light onto this musical ambassador. Premiering in NYC this week, this independent film will be shown on public television as part of the American Masters Series on PBS in 2018.

We really get insight into this very likable, larger than life man. The film covers his travels from Israel, contracting polio at a young age, displaying stunning virtuosity on the Ed Sullivan Show when he was just 13, and moving to New York to study at Juilliard. Along the way, he captured our hearts and became a superstar in the world of classical music.

Over the years Perlman became quite the New Yorker. He lives in Babe Ruth’s old apartment off Central Park West and in turn, is a huge baseball fan. Playing the national anthem at a Mets’ game last year was a complete thrill for this guy who’s played everywhere. We get to watch him hang out with his friends, pianist Evgeny Kissin and cellist Mischa Maisky, over a Chinese dinner. Actor Alan Alda shares over a glass of wine that he too had childhood polio. Together they talk about the effects of the disease on their careers. He never seems to stop sharing his amazing gift with the world – and his master classes with young violinists are a thing to behold. Would you believe that his most requested piece is the main theme to Schindler’s List which he recorded with his friend John Williams for the award-winning movie?

Itzhak allows us to be a fly on the wall and watch one of the legendary violinists live his life, move through his career and behold the love he has for his wife and family. Aren’t we lucky?

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