Violin virtuoso hits the right notes during campus concert
BY KELSEY WHEATON
The spring 2014 semester is proving to be an exciting one for the music department at the University of Mary Washington. First, their philharmonic director, Kevin Bartram, was elected as vice president of a national orchestra directors’ association. Now, the University hosted a major celebrity in the musical world.
On Saturday, March 29, violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman came to the University of Mary Washington to play in concert with the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra.
Itzhak Perlman is best known for his work on the soundtrack for the movie “Schindler’s List,” having performed the violin solos in the soundtrack. Among his accolades, he has won four Emmys, the most recent for his documentary “Fiddling for the Future,” a look into his work as a violinist and a teacher, 15 Grammy awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan and a National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton.
The concert with Perlman and the Philharmonic has been in the works for two years, according to Philharmonic director Dr. Kevin Bartram, who initially reached out to the performer. Perlman’s concert is part of the William M. Anderson celebrity series, which is currently in its eleventh season.
“It’s quite a coup to get someone of his caliber here,” said Bartram. “But if you want to be the best, you have to put yourself among the best.”
The Philharmonic played for the first half of the concert. Following the first half, Perlman joined them to play Beethoven’s Concerto, which was selected for the concert at his request. The audience was excited by Perlman’s presence, and it did not escape the notice of anyone. The concert itself sold out four days after its announcement, a rare event for a concert featuring classical music.
“It’s unusual,” said Bartram. “But it shows that the audience is interested.”
While tickets sold out quickly, there were some who were able to purchase a ticket before they were gone and saw the virtuoso violinist live. Among them were some students and alumni, such as Kari Walker, a 2013 alumna and classical music enthusiast.
“It’s nice to see him here at UMW, because usually it’s really expensive to see a violinist like him,” said Walker. “Having him here allows for aspiring and amateur musicians to have better exposure to rare and brilliant musicianship, even if he’s only here for one night.”
While Perlman’s visit to the university was brief, his presence made a lasting impact. Having him as part of the William Anderson celebrity series will, according to Bartram, elevate the university and make its presence further known in the world of larger universities. Perlman’s presence also ensures the continuation of the celebrity series. Already, Bartram said he has a “good idea” as to who will be performing in the series next year, although he is not releasing the name of the celebrity at this time.
While all the celebrities who have worked with the Philharmonic have been of note Perlman is considered to be one of the best and his presence at the university will be noted for many years to come.