Violinist Itzhak Perlman is among the world's most recorded and admired classical musicians. He also serves as an inspiring role model for disabled persons. When Mr. Perlman was three, he asked his parents for a violin. The next year, he contracted polio and ever since, he has had to wear braces on his legs and walk with crutches.
A native of Israel, Itzhak Perlman performs about 90 concerts a year and continues to thrill audiences around the world with his intensity. "What I try to do is have a total commitment to the music and transform it for the audience," he says. "In other words, to show the audience what I feel about the music."
During summer months in North America, Itzhak Perlman and his wife Toby devote their time to running a music camp for young people in Long Island, New York. Now in its sixth season, the Perlman Music Program invites 35 students from around the world.
Toby Perlman, who directs the program, says the music camp tries to provide a relaxed atmosphere for gifted, young musicians. "What happens to the early bloomer is that often the parents push, and they push [them] into the professional world," she says. "Children need to be in school and they need play dates for their friends. They need a 'normal' upbringing because later on, they'll have to survive in the real world."