This post is sponsored by WNET; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I personally love documentaries, and I love movie nights – whether it’s with a big group of friends or even just with my fiancé, Doug. Documentaries always make for great conversation and when paired with wine and a nice meal – it’s always an amazing evening.
Doug and I recently had the opportunity to screen the next episode of American Masters, this one focusing on Itzhak Perlman, a world-renowned violinist. With Doug’s background in music and fine art, and my background in art and film – it was the perfect evening for us to open a bottle of wine, order some pizza, and get comfy for a movie night!
Before I dive into this episode, I have to talk about American Masters. What I really love about this series is that it does a beautiful job at highlighting the creative journeys of America’s most timeless writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists, filmmakers, and those who have helped shaped our cultural landscape. This episode was no exception.
Before watching this episode, I had never heard of Itzhak Perlman. However, by the end of the episode, my jaw was on the floor. His talent seems effortless. He is just one with the violin – and able to truly transcend his performances to emotionally evoke so much more.
Director Alison Chernick’s captivating documentary takes a deeper look into Perlman’s life – sharing his story as a polio survivor, one who struggled to be taken seriously when schools merely saw his disability. It’s an incredibly inspiring tale of someone that didn’t let anything hold him back.
Perlman was born in Israel in 1945, and he completed his initial musical training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. From there he was US-bound to New York City, where he soon found himself on The Ed Sullivan Show. He went on to study at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay. And in 1964 he won the incredibly prestigious Leventritt Competition, which truly elevated his career to a whole new level.
Aside from all that Perlman has been able to accomplish (he’s won 16 Grammys and 4 Emmys!), one of the things that made me smile the most in this documentary was his darling and devoted wife of 50 years, Toby. The love that comes through in her eyes and in her voice every time she talks about her husband or is near her husband – that emotion and devotion is the thing of fairytales and soulmates.
Perlman also devotes much of his life to his large and loving Jewish family in NYC and to educational activities with young musicians. Every summer since its inception, Perlman teaches at the Perlman Music Program, and beyond that Perlman also serves as the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Chair at the Juilliard School.
Curious about American Masters and Itzhak Perlman? This episode premieres Sunday night, October 14 at 10/9c on PBS, and it’s available to stream starting October 15 on pbs.org/americanmasters and on PBS apps.