Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman opened University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s 49th season with a sold-out concert on Saturday, Oct. 26. Nearly 1,300 people packed Dodd Auditorium for the show, which was part of the Philharmonic’s annual Celebrity Concert Series. Perlman was the first artist to return to campus in the series’ 15-year history.
Perlman performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Philharmonic, which was met with a standing ovation. The program also included Jonathan Bailey Holland’s The Party Starter, Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Aram Khachaturian’s Three Dances from “Gayneh Ballet.” In addition, Perlman surprised concertgoers with an encore featuring his violin solos from the film Schindler’s List, written expressly for Perlman by celebrated composer John Williams. UMW Philharmonic Conductor Kevin Bartram described it as “hauntingly beautiful” and “a real treat for the audience.”
“It’s a special thrill to host one of the world’s most important classical musicians at UMW. When we first introduced the Celebrity Series, I could not even imagine that the Philharmonic would rise to a level sufficient to perform with Itzhak Perlman,” Bartram said of the orchestra’s second appearance with the violin virtuoso.
Composed of both UMW students and community musicians, the orchestra has drawn top talent to Fredericksburg since 2004, performing with the likes of Marvin Hamlisch, Tony Bennett, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming and Kristin Chenoweth.
Perlman, whose résumé includes everything from playing for world leaders and royalty to appearing on Sesame Street and The Tonight Show, enjoys a superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. He has received four Emmy Awards, and his chart-topping recordings have earned him 15 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan honored Perlman with a Medal of Liberty, and in 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts. Perlman also received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003.
UMW Philharmonic’s season continues with Holiday Pops: Winter Wonderland on Friday, Dec. 6, and violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Mary Washington’s first-ever artist-in-residence, leading the new Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, Feb. 16. On Saturday, March 21, Rockwell Reflections will feature the famed Saturday Evening Post artist’s work paired with vivid orchestral pieces, including one inspired by Norman Rockwell himself. The season closes Friday, April 24, with Made in America, narrated by noted film actor Dennis Quaid.
For information about upcoming concerts or to become a Friend of the Philharmonic, call (540) 654-1324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.