Perlman, who had polio as a child and uses a motorized scooter to get around, has played at Barack Obama’s inauguration, for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the White House in 2007, and has been on everything from the Academy Awards to Sesame Street to hundreds and hundreds of stages around the world. And he’s won fifteen Grammy Awards.
Among those laurels, Perlman is also a music educator. He started seriously teaching when he was in his mid-30s. His wife started the Perlman Music Program, which he became a member of its faculty and also joined the teaching staff at Juilliard. He still enjoys teaching young minds who show talent and promise.
“You know, when you listen to somebody who is talented, your brain has to be quite imaginative as to how you help them, and so on,” says Perlman.
Imagination is what you need in order to be a successful musician, he says. Perlman defines success not financially, but whether you successfully relay your ideas to the audience and if you can play a piece of music, even one you have been playing for many, many years, with spontaneity.
Perlman is setting out on a new music education venture this summer. In August, he will be leading a retreat called “Bows and Batons,” where he is educating music enthusiasts and musicians about what happens behind the scenes at an orchestra rehearsal and performance. He will be giving Informances to demonstrate how much work goes into putting a concert together.
Perlman hopes that the dirty work does not deter music enthusiasts from future concerts. However, we doubt that he will need to worry about that.