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The Perlman Music Program 25th Anniversary Gala

Friday, July 26, 2019

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Friends and supporters of The Perlman Music Program (PMP) joined students, alumni, faculty, and founders Toby and Itzhak Perlman on the Program’s beautiful Shelter Island campus to mark a singular moment: PMP’s 25 Anniversary.

What began as a modest two-week program in 1994 is now a richly supportive musical community dedicated to the future leaders of classical music. The Summer Music School, Chamber Music Workshop, and residencies in Florida and Israel offer instruction and mentorship at the highest level. Audiences are treated to more than 300 performances, special events, and outreach sessions each year across the East End of Long Island, New York City, Sarasota, Palm Beach, and even Tel Aviv. A worldwide network of more than 700 alumni are excelling as artists, teachers, and people, guided by PMP’s unique educational philosophy.

At the core of it all, “Toby’s Dream” remains unchanged. Every summer, exceptional young musicians come together on Shelter Island to immerse themselves in their art, guided by Itzhak and Toby Perlman and the program’s stellar faculty. Students become members of an international family, and form friendships that change their lives forever.

After a beachfront reception, a choral and orchestral performance showcased the phenomenal talent of PMP’s students…and a few surprise guests! PMP Founder Toby Perlman gave a warm welcome to all and special recognition to the evening’s honorees: Kristy and James H. Clark, Annette and Ian Cumming, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and Sidney and Morgan Stark. These visionary individuals put PMP on the map – figuratively and literally – by transforming the historic campus and building a vital Endowment Fund. Their leadership continues to inspire and bolster the program’s efforts and launch the next chapter of PMP.  

Maestro Patrick Romano conducted stirring choral renditions by Bach and Beethoven. PMP Board Chairman, Randall Blank, welcomed the guests and hailed PMP board members Michael Bunyaner, Rodger DeRose, Jay Dweck, Barbara Gladstone, Vicki Kellogg, Peter Kend, Mark Miller, Laura Sloate, Jim Toth, and Caitlin Tully before introducing the PMP String Orchestra and Maestro Itzhak Perlman. Maestro Perlman reflected on PMP’s milestone with his signature charm and humor, then led a breathtaking rendition of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”. For the grand finale, alumni violinists Stella Chen, Mariella Haubs, Rachel Lee-Priday, Radu Paponiu, Kenneth Renshaw, and Eric Sliberger  joined the students for a mesmerizing performance of Vivaldi’s “Winter”. Guests jumped to their feet for a standing ovation, as the Maestro retook the stage with his historic violin for a surprise encore of Elgar’s “The Snow”, joined by yet another alumni violinist and faculty member, Sean Lee.

A quarter century of excellence was celebrated at the “Taste of Shelter Island” reception and dinner, featuring delicious offerings from 18 Bay, Amagansett Wine & Spirits, Isola, Marie Eiffel Market, Osprey Bar & Grill at Shelter Island House, The Pridwin, Ram’s Head Inn, Red Maple at the Chequit, SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill, Sunset Beach, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, The Village Cheese Shop, and Vine Street Café.

A silent auction inspired friendly competition among the guests, thanks to over 60 generous donors including The American Hotel, Gurney’s, Charlotte Lee and Primo Artists, Dabney Lee, North Fork Table & Inn, Pure Soul Boutique, Shoreline Aviation, Soundview Greenport, The Wilpon Family and the Mets Organization, the finest North Fork vineyards, and even a few select vintages from Itzhak Perlman’s personal wine cellar.

The evening paused for reflection from Michelle Ross, a distinguished violinist, composer, and PMP alumna. Michelle remarked, “PMP has been part of my life since I was 12 years old. My relationship with The Perlman Music Program – with my teacher, and with all of the faculty and all of my peers, who have become my colleagues and some of my best friends – is forever evolving. The lessons are always unfolding for me. As you get older, you start to gain perspective on the magic, and the joy, and the love that is instilled in you from childhood. All of a sudden you start to understand that every single detail, every single decision, has been so thoughtfully created for you, for the student. There’s this effortlessness about The Perlman Music Program. We all felt it tonight. It’s like breathing, and it’s all on purpose. It’s this incredible experience of understanding that you’ve been given the greatest blessing of your life to be part of this community.”

And as a final farewell, the famous Perltones took the stage for their inimitable doo-woop stylings and rendition of the Beatles classic “All You Need Is Love” – brought to life by a PMP student flash mob!

The 25th Anniversary Gala raised more than $700,000 thanks to the inspired support of many generous and dedicated donors, plus a surprise anonymous match from one, to help close out the auction. The evening’s guests numbered over 300 and leadership supporters included Elaine and Hirschel Abelson, Arlene and Alan Alda, The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation, Christine and Randall Blank, Jennifer and Doug Bosch, Ann and Michael Bunyaner, Kristy and James H. Clark, M. Elaine Crocker, Cumming Foundation, Jay Dweck, Marie and John Evans, Sylvie and Robert Fitzpatrick, Barbara Gladstone, Mei Sze and Jeff Greene, Barbara and Henry Gooss, Cornelia and Ralph Heins, Sara and Randall Hogan, Vicki and Chris Kellogg, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Mrs. Susan Lloyd, Denise and Jim Martin, Biriçim and Mark Miller, Kane and Martin Nussbaum, Pamela and Edward Pantzer, Meryl Rosofsky and Stuart Coleman, Tom Roush, Lawrence and Carol Saper, Allan Schwartzman, Deborah and Michael Sciarrino, The Steinberg Forman Group at Morgan Stanley, Richard A. Smith, Sidney S. Stark, Justin Sullivan, Ashley and Jim Toth, and Pamela Thomas and Sedgwick A. Ward.

Photos by Scott Feierstein/ Red Sweatshirt Photography.

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