Itzhak Perlman is, perhaps, the only living classical musician whose name is recognizable in most households. A true virtuoso, his playing is like “praying with the violin” according to renowned violinmaker Amnon Weinstein.
Perlman has performed with every major orchestra and at every venerable concert hall around the globe. He was granted a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003, a National Medal of Arts in 2000, and a Medal of Liberty in 1986.
And now, finally, his remarkable life -- not just his career and achievements -- is the subject of a new documentary, “Itzhak,” opening March 23 at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. The work premiered at the DOC NYC film festival in 2017.
Filmed during a typically busy year of performances and recordings, which happened to be Perlman’s 70th, “Itzhak” promises to be as charming and entrancing as the man at its center.
Alison Chernick’s 80-minute documentary looks beyond the fame and sublime musicianship to see the Tel Aviv native born to Jewish, non-musical émigré parents from Poland, the prodigy polio survivor, the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a musician, and the loving husband of 50 years.
It also affords a chance to hear Perlman’s signature sense of humor, listen to his playing Bach, Billy Joel and the national anthem at a New York Mets game, and be reminded why art is so very vital to life.