Regarded as the world's greatest living violinist, Itzhak Perlman is no stranger to audiences in Sarasota and Manatee counties. He and his wife Toby, founder of The Perlman Music Program, along with their students, faculty and staff, have spent the past 14 winters here for The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency.
Alison Chernick, the film’s director, followed Mr. Perlman around the world for about a year, from New York to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Paris, as he rehearsed, performed, cooked, made jokes, taught, and spent time with his wife and friends. In an interview with the East Hampton Star, Chernick explained, “As a documentarian, I saw a large character with huge passion and spirit. I wanted to explore the person behind this beautiful sound . . . I saw Jewish history, humor, discipline, drive, and, of course, amazing resilience and overcoming of obstacles and I knew the story would be incredibly colorful.”
In Itzhak, we learn about Perlman’s struggles with polio as a young child, tales of growing up as the child of Polish survivors - where his mastery of the instrument takes him from his small neighborhood in Tel Aviv to the world's most prominent stages and his enduring bond with Toby for more than 50 years. We see Perlman drinking wine with Alan Alda, rehearsing for a guest appearance at a Billy Joel concert, accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama and playing The Star-Spangled Banner to open a New York Mets game. Itzhak provides us with an intimate portrait of the man behind the baton – his love of music, teaching, the violin and life itself.