By Andrew Rudansky
15 years ago Itzhak and his wife Toby Perlman started the Perlman Music Program, they started small, with only a two-week session for a handful of young gifted musicians, who play string instruments in the now defunct Boys and Girls Harbor Summer Camp in East Hampton. Their goal, a simple one, outlined in there mission statement was to “welcome young musicians of rare and special talent into a richly supportive musical community.”
Toby Perlman, whom Maureen M. Nash, Director of Development at the Perlman Music Program calls, “the visionary and brains behind the program,” would be the director, while Itzhak Perlman would lead the music side of the program.
15 years later the Perlman Music Program has become a world leader in music learning institutions in the world complete with a myriad of programs including chamber music workshops, mentorship programs and summer music workshops at their campus on Shelter Island.
The campus, provided to the program through four generous sponsors, is located on a 28-acre lot next to Sunset Beach. On the Shelter Island campus students are given rigouros training under the guidance of highly accomplished mentors, including Itzhak Perlman himself.
To mark their 15th Anniversary, the program will be hosting a weekend of concerts and events.
“We will be celebrating 15 years of accomplishment and achievement,” said Nash, and the program has much to congratulate themselves about. The program is one of the most selective music institutions in the country, alumni have performed in venues across the world and the program has been honored at events such as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Tomorrow, August 14 the Perlman Music Program will come to Sag Harbor to perform at the Old Whalers Church, located on 44 Union Street, at 7 p.m. The students of he Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop will perform with members of the faculty, including Itzhak Perlman. This is the third year that the program has returned to the Old Whalers Church. The Perlman Music Program’s decision to host their concert in the Old Whalers Church was not a hard one, “The acoustics are simply amazing there,” said Nash. Nash also credits Sag Harbor’s “rich history of supporting the arts,” as a determining factor in holding their concert here. Tickets for the Chamber Music concert at the Old Whalers Church can be purchased by visiting www.perlmanmusicprogram.org. The church seats around 320, and tickets go for $25 for general admission or $100 for VIP seating.
Following the chamber music concert the Perlman Music Program will hold its official 15th Anniversary Benefit Celebration on Saturday, August 15, at the home of Susan Dusenberry, in North Haven. The celebration, starting with cocktails at 6 p.m. will include a chamber music performance by Itzhak Perlman and returning alumni from the Perlman Music Program. After Maestro Itzhak Perlman will conduct the String Orchestra, comprised of over 80 members, as they debut “Air and Simple Gifts”, written by famed American composer John Williams.
Both concerts will be festive and casual, “It is a traditional concert but at the same time we know we are at the beach,” says Nash.