ITZHAK PEARLMAN at Wolf Trap, Va. 1987
To say that I was thrilled to hear Itzhak Pearlman in person is a vast understatement. His performance was the culmination of a wonderful two days spent at Wolf Trap, the National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia.
The year was 1987 and the month was July. I had planned the weekend for almost a year, ever since I heard that the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Pearlman, would be performing there. My husband and I were living in North Carolina and we made plans to meet friends from Connecticut at the concert.
The weather was perfect and we were thankful because the first night was spent on blankets outside of the Filene Center. Music is piped out from the building and the acoustics are amazingly fine. We were among hundreds of other music lovers enjoying the warm summer evening and listening to the orchestra pay tribute to George Gershwin. "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American In Paris" have never sounded as sweet as they did that evening.
The following night, Saturday, was the big thrill, however. We were inside for this performance. We had 8th row, center seats in the orchestra. The excitement was palpable when the lights dimmed and Itzhak Pearlman made his entrance. Although Polio has greatly diminished his ability to walk and he gets by with the aid of crutches attached to his arms, he exudes such charm and joy that the audience is hardly aware of his infirmities.
Once he was seated and the performance began I realized that I was truly in the presence of a superstar. His irrepressible joy of making music was transferred to the audience and, although his technique was flawless, he made it seem almost easy.
I will always remember that evening with Itzhak Pearlman, a man with incredible talent and a love of humanity.