Perlman Music Program’s Gift to the East End

Itzhak Perlman, an Israeli-American violinist and conductor and one of the most influential musicians of our time, is a legend. If you’ve ever seen him live or on television, then you already know why.

His skills with a violin are stunning. And when you watch him play, you can sense his passion and share in it. [expand]

Perlman resides with his wife Toby in New York City, but out here has created sort of a musical utopia on Shelter Island with the Perlman Music Program, which is basically like a summer camp for exceptionally talented musicians.

Walking through the Perlman Music Program grounds is like walking through a fantasy land. Children from all over the world, around the ages of 10 to 15-years-old, play their instruments under massive trees, producing some of the most beautiful music you’ve ever heard. It’s like a storybook, or even some kind of musical dream, and when you see it in person, it almost doesn’t feel real because it is so magical.

But it is very real, and the magic of Shelter Island, combined with the magic of Perlman-trained musicians just can’t be beat.

This year marks the 17th year that you can go and see live performances, free of charge, by Perlman’s students. Going there is quite possibly one of the coolest things you can do in the Hamptons and it should not be missed. Underneath a big white tent, students (but really, really ridiculously talented students) perform beautiful classical music, all of which is conducted by Perlman, who quite frequently joins in on his violin for a few songs as well.

These live musical events that they hold every week are packed with listeners, who are all thrilled to see them play.

The weekly performances are called the “Works in Progress” concerts and in my opinion they provide more for the guests that go than they do for the students. But the purpose of the concerts is for the students to perform live and to polish the musical pieces that they are currently working on and studying.

These concerts are held every weekend, on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer season, and they are open to the public. The school is located at 73 Shore Road on Shelter Island and directions can be found at the website, Come out this weekend on July 1 or 2 at 7:30 p.m. to experience the enchanting atmosphere for yourself.

Thanks to a few very generous benefactors, the Perlman Music Program took a major step forward in 2000 when they purchased a 28-acre campus on the shore of Shelter Island. This former summer camp provided large buildings for dorms and a dining hall, bungalows for faculty housing, tiny cabins perfect for practice rooms, and space to erect a large performance stage and tent.

Since its first two-week session in smaller quarters in 1993, the Program has grown into a sophisticated series of programs that include the now six-week Summer Music School, the two and a half-week Chamber Music Workshop, the two and a half-week Sarasota Winter Residency, and the Alumni Concerts and Mentorship program. Over the years, these programs have been enhanced by the occasional international tour to places such as Israel and China.

So enjoy a journey into a magical place for a weekend and check out the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island.

You will not regret that you did. [/expand]


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