A Conversation with Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman, arguably the world’s greatest violinist, is in Chicago today to conduct the Juilliard Orchestra in an all-Tchaikovsky program at the Harris Theater. However, earlier today at the Harris Theater, Mr. Perlman joined Marca Bristo, President and CEO of Access Living, for a conversation about his experiences dealing with his disability, especially as an artist, as well as other topics ranging from his recent Presidential Medal of Freedom honor (awarded by President Obama) and the differences between conducting and performing.

The conversation was profound and enlightening: it shed light into the existing difficulties faced by the disabled community today, but also highlighted the tremendous improvements society has made to help the disabled over the years, and was put into great perspective from Perlman’s own experiences as an artist who had to prove to the world that his disability did not limit him from performing the violin on stage. Despite this serious tone, Perlman’s humorous personality was also on full display! He is truly an inspiration – I’m glad I got to hear Mr. Perlman speak today and hopefully I’ll be able to hear him perform live in concert one day. But for now, I’ll go study a bit before attending tonight’s CSO Afterwork Masterworks concert with conductor Jonathan Nott and soloist/cellist Johannes Moser.

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