In BYU Arts and BRAVO!, Events, Guest Artists, School of Music

Director Kory Katseanes and student violinists Rachel Christensen and Donni Evans reflect on their experience preparing for, working with and learning from Perlman

Itzhak Perlman performs with the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra in a Jan. 9 BRAVO! series concert. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

It’s a rare moment when a young musician is able to observe firsthand the foremost practitioner of their craft, but the students in the School of Music’s Philharmonic Orchestra did exactly that as they shared the de Jong Concert Hall stage with top violinist Itzhak Perlman — making BYU history in the process.

“It’s not easy to quantify what this performance means for students in the orchestra, the students in the School of Music, for BYU and for the community,” said Philharmonic director Kory Katseanes. “His is an unequaled reputation in our lifetimes. There’s never been a classical artist as well-known, as beloved as Itzhak Perlman, and the community knows that.”

To this point, the BYU Philharmonic is the only university orchestra scheduled to perform with the 15-time Grammy winner this year — an honor that was not taken lightly by the students in the orchestra. 

“As soon as Kory told us that we would be performing with Itzhak Perlman, we all knew in the back of our minds that we would need to rise to a new level of playing,” said concertmaster Rachel Christensen, a graduate student in violin performance. “Everyone wanted to do their very best for Perlman. It goes beyond a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — it’s something I never imagined would even be a possibility.”

With the most important concert in the history of the Philharmonic on the horizon, Katseanes identified a theme for the year to guide rehearsals and inspire the student musicians: prepare for Perlman.

Read the full story at the School of Music website.

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