Itzhak Perlman talks with the Houston Chronicle’s Andrew Dansby about his upcoming performance with the Houston Symphony on May 22.
In January 2020, before everything went to pot, the Houston Symphony announced an intriguing new partnership. International superstar and violinist Itzhak Perlman and the symphony planned a three-year collaboration referred to as an “artistic partnership.” The idea was for Perlman to play and conduct a Beethoven program last September, marking the composer’s 250th birthday.
The world had a different plan. But this week, Perlman comes to Houston for a delayed debut as part of this new partnership. The maestro and virtuoso will perform Beethoven’s Romance No. 1 and No. 2, along with the Overture to “Coriolan” and also lead the Houston Symphony through the composer’s Symphony No. 7.
Perlman’s career accolades and awards could be a story in and of itself: The 75-year-old has won more than a dozen Grammys, been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Genesis Prize, a Kennedy Center Honor and all manner of other distinctions.
His connection with the Houston Symphony goes back to the late-’60s, so it’s hardly a new one. And when he said last year, “Every time I return, it’s like being with family,” he meant that literally as well as metaphorically. Perlman’s daughter Ariella is a flutist in Houston, and her husband, Robert Johnson, plays French horn in the symphony.