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BYU Arts Bravo

Legendary Violinist Itzhak Perlman Joins BYU Philharmonic in Sold Out Concert

The World Renowned Violinist Took the BYU Stage for a Two-Night Concert Event

Meeting your musical hero is a rare occurrence, and sharing a stage with him is even more improbable. However through BYU’s BRAVO! Series, students in the BYU School of Music’s Philharmonic Orchestra were able to make those dreams happen in an unforgettable performance.

Perlman Plays Alongside BYU Students. ©2023 by CFAC External Relations. All rights reserved.

On October 11-12 in the new Music Building Concert Hall, the BYU Philharmonic performed with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman in two sold-out performances. The orchestra welcomed back its previous director, Kory Katseanes alongside current director, Nathan Haines, for the concerts. The BYU Philharmonic is the only university orchestra Perlman is performing with this year.

Itzhak Perlman Performs with BYU Philharmonic. ©2023 by CFAC External Relations. All rights reserved.

Nathan Cox, a cellist in the orchestra, said he was honored that Perlman chose to perform at BYU. “It’s a really high compliment to us. It's meaningful to us as aspiring musicians to have someone so iconic in the classical world create art with us.”

The concerts were originally scheduled for February 2023 and rescheduled due to construction delays with the new Music Building. Students have been preparing since 2022 for the opportunity to perform with Perlman.

Caroline Durham, concertmaster of the orchestra, shared her experience performing with Perlman. “The most rewarding part for me was knowing that I had done everything I could have done to be prepared for this crucial performance. It paid off because when the time came to perform with Itzhak Perlman, I was able to focus completely on him — on staying together with him — and enjoying his remarkable and beautiful performance.”

Itzhak Perlman holds a lifetime of monumental achievements and is a household name in the realm of classical music. After his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958, Perlman achieved national recognition. He has since won 16 Grammy Awards and multiple distinctions from many U.S. Presidents throughout his ongoing career. One of Perlman’s proudest accomplishments is his work on the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List, in which he performed the violin solos.

Durham reflected on her history with Perlman’s music. “I grew up listening to many of his recordings. Violin teachers would have me watch videos of him playing and I would try to emulate him. Currently, I am learning a piece where I have taken inspiration and ideas from Perlman’s own recording.”

The BYU Philharmonic opened the concert with “Florence and Friends: Re-sounding Voices,” a piece composed by Stephen Jones, former dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. Jones created this piece for this concert in honor of the new Music Building Concert Hall.

According to Jones, the piece is a celebration of BYU composers. “I wanted to welcome them into our presence tonight, re-sounding their work in dialogue with each other and with mine,” he said.

The BYU Philharmonic also performed “Suite from Der Rosenkavalier” composed by Richard Strauss. After an intermission, the orchestra took the stage with Perlman to perform “Concerto for Violin in E Minor,” composed by Felix Mendelssohn. Perlman performed this same piece on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958.

“It was an absolute honor to work with and perform with such a musical giant. It was extremely inspiring and meaningful to experience firsthand his beauty of sound and the goodness in his heart,” Durham said.