PERLMAN REVIEWS “ITZHAK”

April 06, 2018 at 5:00 am

The violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and his wife Toby turn movie critics and the subjects of the upcoming “American Masters” documentary “Itzhak.” Tune in for their intimate review and reflections.

Aired on April 5, 2018. 

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>>> ITZHAK PERLMAN ENJOYS
SUPERSTAR STATUS RARELY AFFORDED
A CLASSICAL MUSICIAN.
16 GRAMMYS, PERFORMING AT EVERY
MAJOR EORCHESTRA AND A
PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM.
PEARLMAN IS BELOVED FOR HIS
CHARM AND HIS MASTERFUL
TEACHING.
ITZHAK EXPLORES PERLMAN'S LIFE
AS AN IMMIGRANT SURVIVOR AND THE
ENDURING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
HIM AND HIS WIFE TOBY, HERE'S A
LOOK.
>> ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN MY
CHILDHOOD HAD TO DO WITH YES
PRACTICE, NO PRACTICE.
>> HE APPROACHES MUSIC THE WAY
HE APPROACHES EVERYTHING IN
LIFE, WITH PASSION AND WITH JOY.
>> MY DAUGHTER WAS BLOWN AWAY BY
ITZHAK'S PLAYING.
>> AND JOINING ME NOW ARE THE
STAR OF ITZHAK, ITZHAK AND TOBY
PERLMAN.
SUCH AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU BOTH
HERE.
LET'S GO BACK TO YOUR PARENTS,
WERE YOU PARENTS MUSICAL?
>> MY PARENTS WERE MUSICAL BUT
THEY WERE NOT MUSICAL AND THEY
WEREN'T WEREN'T PROFESSIONAL
MUSICIANS.
>> WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU GOT
THIS GIFT?
>> I HAVE NO IDEA.
I HEARD IT PLAYING ON THE RADIO
IN ISRAEL AND SAID THAT'S WHAT I
WANT TO DO.
>> AND IN YOUR DOCUMENTARY YOU
SAY YOU CHOOSE YOUR MUSIC
BECAUSE OF THE MUSIC YOU HEAR IN
YOUR HEAD, VIOLIN IS WHAT YOU
HEARD?
>> WHEN I HEARD THE VIOLIN, I
THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING I WOULD
LIKE TO PLAY.
>> SO YOU WERE BORN IN ISRAEL
AND YOU LIVED THERE, AND THE
PLAN WAS AS THE DOCUMENTARY
SHOWS, TO COME TO THE UNITED
STATES WHERE YOU COULD PERFECT
YOUR CRAFT AND LAUNCH YOUR
CAREER.
BUT SURPRISING TO ME, YOUR
DISABILITY GOT IN THE WAY
INITIALLY?
>> I DID NOT REALIZE THAT IT WAS
MY DISABILITY THAT GOT IN THE
WAY.
I JUST THOUGHT THAT SOMETHING
GOT IN THE WAY BUT I HAD NO IDEA
BECAUSE WHERE MY PARENTS WERE
CONCERNED, THEY WERE CONCERNED
ABOUT MY PRACTICING AND MY DOING
THE BEST I COULD AS A PLAYER.
THE POLIO THAT I HAD DID NOT
COME INTO SOMETHING THAT WAS
VERY IMPORTANT.
PEOPLE LOOKED AT IT, THEY
THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT
WAS SERIOUS.
BUT I DIDN'T THINK SO.
>> I AGREE WITH YOU THAT THE
FOCUS WAS NOT ON YOUR DISABILITY
AT ALL.
I CERTAINLY NEVER FOCUSED ON IT
AND I DON'T THINK YOUR PARENTS
DID EITHER.
I THINK WE FOCUS ON IT NOW
BECAUSE NOW THAT YOU'RE IN A
SCOOTER, WE HAVE ALL KINDS OF
PROBLEMS RELATING TO ACCESS AND
AIRPLANES AND NOTHING BUT
PROBLEMS, REALLY.
IT'S VERY DIFFICULT.
>> HOW DID YOU GUYS MEET?
>> WE MET AT A SUMMER MUSIC
CAMP.
>> WAS IT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?
>> FOR ME IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST
SIGHT.
BUT FOR HIM, HE WAS ALWAYS THE
NO GUY.
HE SAID NO TO EVERYTHING.
>> IN FACT YOU ASKED HIM TO
MARRY YOU?
>> YES.
>> DID HE SAY YES?
>> HE WAS SPEECHLESS FOR THE
FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE.
>> I WAS 17 FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE.
WHEN SOMEBODY COMES TO YOU AND
SAYS WILL YOU MARRY ME, YOU STOP
FOR A SECOND.
>> SO YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO
MARRY SOMEONE ELSE?
>> I WAS JUST UNHAPPY, YOU KNOW,
I REALLY WAS UNHAPPY.
>> WE EVOLVED.
>> IT WORKED OUT IN THE END,
YES.
>> ALTHOUGH YOU GUYSGUYS ---BUT
YOU'RE VERY DIFFERENT, YOU COME
FROM VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS,
YOU WERE BORN HERE, YOUR PARENTS
WERE BORN IN NEW YORK, YOUR
PARENTS WERE BORN IN THE POLISH
GHETTO?
>> BUT THE VALUES WERE THE SAME,
IT'S ALMOST AS IF WE WERE
BROUGHT UP TOGETHER, WE COME
FROM ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLACES
BUT AT THE SAME TIME THE SAME
PLACE.
>> THERE WAS NEVER ANY FRICTION
BETWEEN YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
>> NO.
>> WELL, LET'S JUST TALK ABOUT
THE MUSIC DIFFERENCE.
YOU WERE RAISED AS A PERFORMER.
>> RIGHT.
RIGHT.
A SPECIAL PERFORMER, UNLIKE
ANYTHING ELSE, THAT'S FOR SURE.
>> BUT YOU ALSO DO MORE MUSIC
ACTUALLY.
>> BUT I WAS RAISED BY A FATHER
WHO ACTUALLY PLANNED WHAT I WAS
LISTENING TO WHAT I WAS ALLOWED
TO LISTEN TO, WHAT I WASN'T
ALLOWED TO LISTEN TO, WHO
THOUGHT ABOUT THE WHOLE BIG
PICTURE AND IN THE END, OF
COURSE, I'M SO GRATEFUL TO HIM
BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO SLIDE INTO
THIS LIFE IN A VERY COMFORTABLE
FASHION.
>> SO THE MARRIAGE BEGAN A
BRILLIANT PARTNERSHIP, A
PARTNERSHIP IN MANY RESPECTS.
YOU SAY IN YOUR DOCUMENTARY,
THAT YOU ARE HIS BIGGEST CRITIC.
HOW DOES THAT MANIFEST IT?
>> I TRUST HER.
>> YEAH?
MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE?
>> ABSOLUTELY, I TRUST HER
BECAUSE I KNOW THAT TOBY, AT
LEAST OUR RELATIONSHIP, TOBY
DOES NOT FEEL THAT SHE CANNOT
SAY ANYTHING THAT SHE FEELS IS A
PROBLEM IF SHE HEARS IT WHEN I
PLAY.
AND I WELCOME THE CRITICISM FROM
HER.
BECAUSE I KNOW THAT SHE'S NOT
GOING TO JUST SAY OH, THAT
SOUNDED REALLY GOOD.
AND I CAN TELL WHEN IT'S GOOD
AND WHEN IT'S SORT OF OKAY.
I MEAN, LIKE, MMM, HOW WAS IT?
IT WAS GOOD.
>> BUT EVERYBODY NEEDS A COACH.
I MEAN LOOK AT BASEBALL, THESE
GUYS THEY HAVE A BATTING COACH
AND A PITCHING COACH.
AND TENNIS PLAYERS HAVE COACHES
AND THEY TRAVEL WITH THE
PLAYERS, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN THE
WORLD.
EVERYBODY NEEDS ANOTHER SET OF
EYES AND EARS.
>> BUT IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE
INSTRUMENTALISTS DO NOT HAVE
COACHES.
YOU THINK ABOUT IT, ANYBODY WHO
PLAYS AN INSTRUMENT, THEY MAY
HAVE SOMEBODY THAT THEY TRUST,
BUT THEY DON'T HAVE CULTURES --
SINGERS ARE, THAT'S THE
TRADITION TO HAVE A COACH, BUT
WE DON'T HAVE THAT TRADITION.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PERLMAN
MUSICAL PROGRAM.
YOU FOUNDED IT RIGHT?
>> YES.
>> WE HAVE SEVERAL PROGRAMS
UNDER THAT UMBRELLA NAME, AND I
GUESS THE MEAT AND POTATOES
PROGRAM IS A SEVEN-WEEK
EDUCATION SCHOOL.
AND IT DOES TRY TO CREATE -- I
WANT TO SAY FAMILY LIKE
ENVIRONMENT, BUT THAT'S NOT
RIGHT EITHER, BECAUSE FAMILIES,
YOU KNOW, SQUABBLE ALL THE TIME.
>> IN FACT, IT SURPRISED ME.
YOU SAID THE MUSIC IS JUST AN
EXCUSE, IT'S ABOUT LIFE.
>> THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S ABOUT
LIFE, IT'S ABOUT HOW TO TELL THE
TRUTH, IT'S ABOUT HOW TO TAKE A
CHANCE.
AND IN TERMS OF ASKING THEM TO
TAKE A CHANCE, WE HAVE TO CREATE
A SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
THEY DON'T HAVE A TEACHER WHO
YELLS AT THEM.
THEY HAVE A TEACHER INSTEAD THAT
SAYS, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HOW
THAT WENT?
WHAT DO YOU THINK WE COULD
CHANGE?
HOW DO WE WANT TO WORK ON THIS
CONCERTO.
I THINK WE HAVE HAD A GOOD DEAL
OF SUCCESS WITH OUR KIDS, IN
THAT THEY ARE CLOSE TO ONE
ANOTHER.
>> THAT'S THE OTHER THING THAT'S
IMPORTANT, HOW THEIR
RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER,
HOW DO YOU TREAT YOUR COLLEAGUE,
YOUR FELLOW STUDENT, HOW DO YOU
DO THAT?
>> LET ME ASK YOU THIS, YOU LOOK
AT THIS DOCUMENTARY, FROM THE
OUTSIDE, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU HAVE
A EXAMPLED LIFE.
EVERYTHING'S GREAT.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE
DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD DO
IT AGAIN?
>> EVERYTHING'S KIND OF TURNED
OUT PRETTY GOOD.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
DID IT TURN OUT PRETTY GOOD?
>> I WOULD HAVE HAD MORE
BABYSITTERS.
I WOULD HAVE HAD MORE HELP.
I'M EXHAUSTED JUST THINKING
ABOUT WHAT WE DID.
>> MORE BABYSITTERS, I AGREE
WITH THAT.
>> I'M GLAD YOU GUYS DID WHAT
YOU DID, IF THAT MEANT THAT YOU
WOULD BE HERE WITH ME TODAY.
I HAVE ABOUT 20 MORE QUESTIONS,
BUT I'M OUT OF TIME.
ITZHAK AND TOBY, IT'S BEEN A
REAL PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU.
>> ITZHAK THE DOCUMENTARY IS
PLAYING IN NEW YORK CITY IN
THEATERS NOW, AND IT WILL BE
RELEASED AT A LATER DATE.

Funders

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