Itzhak (2017) Movie Script

- Play ball!
- Play ball.
Oh, look at this,
that's a home run.
- Hi, how are you?
- Hey.
- Pleasure to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
- That's my wife, Toby.
- Hi, nice to meet you.
Thank you for the home
run, that was great!
Is it cheesy to say I always
wanted to be a violinist?
Not from you.
That's the variation.
16-time Grammy
award-winning violinist,
and New York icon,
Itzhak Perlman.
One thing, when it
da da de dugadugaduga,
you know where you play that,
This is Mushu Chicken
and it goes with,
it goes with pancakes,
if you want.
- Huh, and this is rice?
- This is rice.
Okay, so then we can
open, that is a Doh Meow,
which is a peashoot leaves.
So just help yourself.
- Okay.
- Oh, it's chicken wings.
- Please.
- Thank you.
- Did you ever meet Heifetz?
- Yes.
It was an unforgettable
meeting, like,
I'm sure for everyone,
but for me particularly.
You see, I think that
what makes people wanna play
an instrument is what they
hear in their head, you know?
The sound, they like the
sound that they hear.
Because, one of our children,
she always wanted
to play the flute.
'Cause she liked the
sound, she liked what.
You can't explain, you know?
And I wanted to play the
violin, 'cause I like the sound.
But of course, you know, I
heard Heifitz on the radio,
so it was a nice example
that was already, you know,
when I already thought
Violin was, that's the thing.
Fourth grade, Russian school.
Classroom, history lesson,
so he says,
"I give you date, you tell
me what happened in date."
Nobody says anything.
I'll tell you what it is.
1779, Pushkin's birthday!
Okay, now I give you
something easier, 1812.
Silence, nothing.
Morons, 1812!
Finally, Moishe, the Jewish
boy in the back, says,
He says, "Yes, Moishe,
what is it?"
He says, "Pushkin's Bar
I'm too early, I'm too early,
Because I only have one note.
Alright, fine, so do it
two, three bars before.
But listen, if for some
reason I make a mistake,
just go with me.
Oh, do it one more time
so I can get it.
Ah, that felt good.
See, first you go like this,
that's how you open it,
and then you struggle.
Now let's see,
what did I get here?
"Be prepared for a sudden,
"and happy change in plans."
- Let's not do the Tchaikovsky.
- Yeah, exactly.
Please don't think I'm an
idiot, please.
I'm making the cauliflower
Tell me again, what do you do?
Salt and pepper and olive oil
and garlic.
It sounds so delicious.
Okay, talk to you later, ciao.
We were very lucky, because
we have certain areas that
we never even discussed, we
just felt the same way about
these areas and we
proceeded with our life.
One of them was Friday night.
He doesn't play
on a Friday night,
he doesn't travel
on a Friday night.
I mean, I always make Shabbatt.
We never discussed it,
it just was what we did,
and of course we have our
music in common, which,
not that I'm in his league or
class or anything like that,
but I know something
and we do well together.
We talk about it, we live
it, we dream it, you know,
and still today, I know I'm
very critical of his playing.
Everybody who knows us
knows that, but to me,
when I hear that sound,
when I hear that playing,
it's like breathing,
it's being alive.
- Hi.
- So...
I'm just doing the ending.
It's just gonna end,
it's like a truck.
A truck?
- Track.
- Oh, a track.
Yes, you know me.
English is not
your first language.
It's very unclear to me,
but it sounds like fun.
You are so wet.
Yeah, you are a good doggie.
Okay, okay, bye.
- You know what today we got?
- What?
I ordered on the
telephone, I ordered pickles,
so they came
with a pickle shirt.
A green shirt, and I don't
know how they knew about me,
because they sent me an
extra-large shirt.
Boichick, there's
nothing for you, nothing.
You have dinner later.
- Brace, brace.
- That's a brace?
It's a brace, believe me,
it's a brace.
And that's brace all the way
over there.
So he says, "you don't have
to take your shoes off."
Well, I never take
my shoes off anyway.
I can't take my shoes off,
they're connected to my braces.
Let us know
what you need, okay?
I'm good, I'm good, I'm good.
When you look at the names
of the streets of Tel Aviv
and if you were to know each
that the street is named after,
you would basically
know Israeli history,
and a lot of Jewish history,
because every person
that the street is named
after has done something
either in the arts,
poetry, politics, anything.
So, it's like an education.
So, if you look them
up, what do you call it,
Jewish Google, if you will,
wouldn't it be, you can call
it Joogle, that would be nice.
That's funny.
- Jewish Google.
- That's funny.
So, you would really
know a lot about history.
So now, Ben-Yehuda, which,
by the way, is son of Judah,
it used to be Itzhak Perlman,
and a lot of people
don't know that.
- Nobody knows that.
- Nobody knows that.
Except for me, if you Joogle
it, you will find out.
Here I think there is a violin
shop here.
It used to be here,
when you...
- Yeah, it used to be there.
- When you were a kid?
When I lived here, his father
loaned me
a three-quarter size violin.
Weinstein, there it is, the
first one.
Amnon is gonna be here
any minute,
but it's a question of is
it a Jewish any-minute,
or a regular any-minute?
Yeah, if it's Jewish,
you're in trouble.
Oh, look, that's my picture.
- Where?
- Right, me.
- Oh, yeah.
- Photograph.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You see, there
is a painting of this guy.
That's Amnon's father.
I don't believe you.
- I don't believe you.
- No?
I was telling them, the last
violin I tried of yours, eh!
But I'm just, I'm just...
So, who made these violins?
It's difficult to say
because they are coming
from all over the world in this
German, French and Jewish.
Jewish violin, show me a
Jewish violin.
That's what I'm going to do.
That's a violin made by a
Jewish maker, Yakof Zimmerman,
from Warsaw, and the
label, it is in Yiddish,
and a little Star of David here.
Oh my goodness.
So, when was it used?
The guy was an
He played in his house
until the last days
that the Germans came to Warsaw.
Then it's kept away and
he asked his best friend
to bring the violin to
the family in Jerusalem.
It plays Jewish automatically.
So tell me about this.
A colleague of
mine wrote me a letter,
that they found the violin,
open it,
and that's what was inside.
"Heil Hitler, 1936."
And who made this?
We don't know.
The violin, owned by a
Jewish guy in Germany.
Something happened
to the violin and then,
he brought it to a local guy.
The guy opened the violin,
without permission,
did this swastika,
"heil Hitler,"
close the violin, and the
Jewish played on this violin
until he passed away.
Yeah, make sure that
there are no strings there.
- For the next thousand years.
- Yes.
As we say in English,
no strings attached.
Hey, Toby, this was the
laundry and there was an entry
from here to the kitchen.
You see that window over there?
That was my parents'
bedroom, then the next room
was where I practiced.
My parents came to Israel,
strangers to the country.
My father did anything
to make a living.
He learned how to be a barber.
That didn't work out because
they needed me to be in an area
where it was close to school.
So they then washed clothes
for the neighbors, you know,
they adjusted what they did
for a living
to what they had to do for me.
Anything that happened in my
childhood, besides school,
had to do with yes practice,
no practice, that's all it was.
Maybe just thought, hey
listen, you have a talent,
use it, because you're not
gonna be a tennis player.
When you live in a small
country, the goal is to go
to the United States so that
you go to the next level,
but there were circumstances
in which people
who heard me play said,
"oh, yeah, well, very nice,
"but he can't really, he's
All the big classical
music stars in the world
came to Israel and they all
heard him, and nobody was
brave enough to say he should
go to the Juilliard School.
They looked at the general
They did not look at the
specific picture.
The specific picture was,
judge me by what I do,
but don't judge me
by what I can't do.
So, there was a period of time
where nothing was happening
and my parents actually were
very close to giving up on me.
Just as Israel has triumphed
over so many discouragements
and so many hurdles, this
little boy, thirteen and a half
years old and a polio
victim, triumphed over polio,
with the help of God and
Yasha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin
say that he is going to be one
of the great violin virtuosos
of the world.
We never discussed Sullivan's
reasons for taking me,
and I don't know whether
we agree on this or not,
whether it was purely
because of the way I played.
- No.
- No, I don't think so.
It was a, you know,
kind of thing, I'm sure,
in Sullivan's mind, but
anybody who heard that,
any musician who heard that
knew that it didn't have
anything to do with crippled,
it didn't have anything to do
with anything other than gift.
Any in
particular how you want me
- to blow-dry your hair?
- Yes.
I wanna look like Marilyn
Well, he's just finishing
a tour, a three-week tour,
of China, Japan, Korea.
He's in the service?
No, he's a musician,
he's a violinist.
I don't know
when it was recorded,
but they did like
a little NPR piece,
and then they were talking
about all the things that my dad
has done and that he first
came over when he was 13.
I also listened to this
NPR piece that they did.
There's a clip
of the Strauss Sonata,
the recording that he just made.
Yes, yes, I
heard it in the background!
- It's totally breathtaking!
- I know!
Because we've been listening
at home with the boys,
and I'm like, I
know that, I love that.
It's so beautiful,
But it came as such a shock
to me.
And then I thought to
myself, that's what I heard
more than 50 years ago when
I asked him to marry me.
I heard that sound,
it was just fantastic.
In an interview, violinist
Itzhak Perlman was once asked,
what sound he loves, and his
eyes lit up and he replied,
the sound of
onions sizzling in a pan.
That is a man
of large appetites,
who knows how to live.
But what truly sets him apart
and what makes him perhaps
the most beloved violinist
of our time is that he
approaches music the way he
approaches everything in life.
With passion and with joy.
He lays bare the soul of a
piece, making us feel each note
and giving us a glimpse of
something bigger than ourselves
and by doing so, he makes the
world a little more beautiful.
When I first came
to the states,
first we lived in a
downtown hotel for one day,
then another downtown hotel
for another day, and then this,
we lived there for a year,
just me and my mother.
It had a little kitchen, we
lived in one room and that's
when I had my first
tutoring to study English.
Oh, listen, let me take you to
Juilliard, the old Juilliard!
I mean, this was my route,
this was the route, you know,
every day, or three,
four times a week,
I used to go to Juilliard.
And Juilliard was not
at the Lincoln center.
Juilliard was all the way up
120th St.
He was 13 and he had come
over to the United States
from Israel, and he was
in a miserable hotel room,
and it was raining and he
was in a terrible mood,
did not want to play for
me, and he looked at me just
frowning and finally, and
he didn't speak any English,
and neither did his mother,
but we managed to make it clear
that he was supposed to play.
He started playing
Mendelssohn concerto,
at about double tempo and
looking at me very crossly,
while he did it.
I thought, I've never seen
anything like this in my life.
He was just, it was just
amazing and...
I think I fell
in love with him then.
He was, he was...
He really was amazing.
There was no question
about that talent.
I think the question in some
people's minds was the fact
that he walked with crutches,
and they called it wrong.
You know, they really
called it wrong.
And I knew at the time that
they were calling it wrong.
I tried to find as many
ways as possible to make him
independent and he
became very independent.
Sometimes she would do certain
things and you would say,
why the hell is she doing it?
After a while, you know
that there was a plan.
Miss DeLay took
you to museums,
she got you an art teacher
so that you were drawing
and painting and you were
developing as a person.
She understood that art is
a reflection of the artist,
and if there's nothing
going on up here,
maybe not much will go on here.
Yeah, but she was
a wonderful teacher.
I hated her, I hated her.
I hated her because she was
so different
than my first teacher, see,
because my first teacher
just told me everything,
"you do this,
"you're not doing this,
you're not practicing."
I mean, come on, please,
please, okay.
Then comes Miss DeLay.
"Sugarplum, what do you think
of that?
"What do you think of this?"
"What do you mean, what do I
"I don't think, you tell me
what to do and I'll do it.
"Don't tell me that
I have to think."
If something was out
of tune, she would say,
"Sugarplum, what's your
concept of G-sharp?
"What the hell do you mean
my concept?"
But it's very interesting that
I hated the way she taught me
and now that's the way I teach.
So let me ask you, was anybody
here moved
by any of these four
All of them.
You were moved by all of them?
For me, the Kreisler,
which is so warm and tender,
it's like this connection
to a sound.
It was passion.
It was like gripping
from beginning to end.
That's something about artistry.
Maybe it has to with
my age, whatever it is,
I know that the middle
section of the Kreisler one,
that was for me,
that was for me.
And the Heifetz one, I felt,
awestruck by the middle section,
what he did with colors, and
it was almost showing off,
where it was just like
one color after another,
and it just came with you,
it was like fireworks,
boom boom boom, and it was
all perfectly timed and so on.
I had a question about sound,
Do you think that timing
could affect the illusion
of how we perceive the sound?
The front and the end
of the note,
affect what you're hearing,
and how you emote to it,
I think front like, someone
was talking about the bowing
and how hard it was, I think
articulation, and the way you
end notes is just as important
as the note
and the core of the sound
itself, 'cause if the core is
gorgeous but it ends
totally flat, emotionally,
you're gonna, it's not
gonna speak as well.
Now, with string players,
it's more esoteric.
Because you're playing
on an instrument,
and you're doing stuff
with your hands,
and why does it come out in
certain people so incredible,
and in some other, it's
okay, but is not as moving?
That for me is inexplicable
and it's nice that
there are certain things
that you can't explain,
it's always nice.
Is the mic on?
Get the violin sound.
Some of these things,
can I play along?
Because I'm always playing
together with somebody.
- In which ones?
- Everything.
Well, I put
some of those in there.
This is all unison here, right?
- You want it on your own?
- Yeah.
And I want that on my own,
I mean,
because otherwise it's,
you know, it's silly for me.
Don't you think?
We can loosen it up
as long as we state that line,
because it's Allen Town.
No, no, no, of course,
of course.
- Take the ending, then?
- I'd love to take the ending.
I have an idea about just
a little something before,
so that it brings in those
fantastic Indian sounding drums.
- Before the percussion?
- Yeah.
So we'd have to skip the...
No, you can have
whatever you want.
But if I do that, you'll
never hear your violin.
- Oh, oh, I see.
- Maybe.
So maybe after the violin,
after your, I could do it.
Well I do the,
and then we count.
The percussion starts.
There's four of them.
And then it goes.
Oh, I see, but is it
possible that I can be,
maybe before that and
then bring the drums?
Yeah, we could try it.
We need to get a little more
It does sound like an Irish jig.
Is that what we're going for?
If you want something
else, it can be Jewish,
it can be Irish.
No, the Irish thing
sounded good, actually.
Ladies and gentlemen,
we are gonna do a song
for St. Patrick's Day and
it goes something like this.
Please welcome Itzhak
Perlman on the fiddle.
This is his arrangement.
- Will I be able to...
- We have to see.
What, it's like the paths
with snow, drifts and stuff?
Drifts and puddles, and
puddles to here,
and you'll either end up on the
with the scooter lopsided
or you'll just sail through.
The scooter is gonna
be underneath water,
but not lopsided, my weight is
too much.
You just have to allow
enough time
so we're not rushing.
- Is there a lot of puddles?
- A lot of puddles.
Alright, fine, alright.
Okay, look, I'm gonna
go into the second one.
I'm gonna go
into the higher scooter.
- Oh, hello, Martha.
- I brought pickles.
- Pickles, why?
- Yeah.
What else am I gonna
buy at the hardware store?
Oh, pickles, yeah right, okay.
No one was on the road.
There are mountains on either
end, I'm afraid for my life.
I thought, nobody but you
would come from Boston today.
Oh, my God.
It doesn't say kosher,
so if you don't want it
in the house, I'm not
hurt, I'll take it home.
How can a pickle
not be kosher?
- I don't know.
- It's a cucumber.
This is one of our oldest
from when we were like 14/15.
We all knew each other a
and Miss DeLay would
sometimes take me out and
also in the car would be
Itzhak and Mrs. Perlman,
his mother.
This was kind of a gentle
way of introducing Itzhak
to American kids.
Toby was blown away by Itzhak's
playing and she was a goner.
- I was a goner!
- Goner!
I was.
Itzhak was playing on one
of the student concerts
that Sunday night, he played
the Tzigane, the Ravel Tzigane,
and I went backstage and
asked him to marry me.
He was 17, it was July 4th
weekend and he was almost 18,
his birthday's the end
of August.
And then, well, about a
year or so after we met,
he grew up and he became
interested in girls,
and found a girlfriend, and it
wasn't me.
It was somebody else,
it was terrible.
So I had to kind of live
through that period of time,
and it was very difficult
because, you see,
I was hopelessly
in love with him,
but he recovered from
his other girlfriend,
it took a year or so, and
our friendship resumed
and it grew and it blossomed
and, really,
marriage was the most
natural thing, it was not,
not an emotional trauma
for us at all.
Here, let me go first.
Alright, now this does not
look good, this is bad.
I mean, this is bad.
No, well just clean a
little bit of the thing.
It's wide enough.
Way to go!
Okay, we did it.
When we met, the common
thing for us was the music.
We learned a lot from
just spending evenings
listening to records.
You never heard of Schubert's
Song till you met me.
I was very late in listening.
Think about Israel, the only
chance of listening to any
music is the radio.
Whereas I went
to Carnegie Hall
twice a week with my father.
My father believed that
if Heifetz was playing in
Carnegie Hall, it was more
important for me to go
to hear Heifetz and not
go to school the next day
because I would be up too
late, than not to hear Heifetz
and go to school, so as a
result, I learned other things
that served me so well in life,
in my life with you.
Itzhak, on the E string.
I didn't play an E string yet.
Are you talking
about this morning?
The rehearsal,
sharp on the E string.
Not in the last movement,
that's fine.
All the way up, yeah.
See what I need here is a
television so I can watch some
baseball, something
between between commercials
or something I can practice.
- Three?
- Yes.
Thank you very much.
That's probably Alan.
Now, the problem with this
is that if I don't stand up,
I can't see what's in there.
Oi, perfect.
- I'm cooking for you.
- What are you cooking?
I'm cooking a soup.
What kind of soup?
I call it a garbage pail soup.
I have to go now.
That means everything
in the garbage pail
- goes in the soup.
- I heard.
- You heard.
- Alright.
This is a syrah, this
is really a great wine.
Well, que sera sera, I'm
surprised you didn't say that.
- Too obvious.
- Too easy, I know.
Enough, enough, enough.
- You knew I had polio.
- No.
You didn't know I had polio?
It didn't affect you
as far as walking
and stuff like that.
See, I had something
you didn't have, I bet.
I had the Sister Kenny
A lot of really painful massage,
and wrapping your muscles
all over your body with
scalding hot blankets.
That I did not have,
I had to smell smoke,
parchment with holy words
and then they would burn it
and I would smell
the holy words.
My parents would put me on
all sorts of weird diets.
A raw egg every morning and,
you know, I kind of liked that.
- You did?
- I did.
Especially the yolk.
- Mercury.
- Mercury?
Yeah, I had to have
a little thing
- of mercury every morning.
- This is terribly toxic.
That might explain
the way I behave.
What are you doing?
A good technique is not how
many fast notes do you play.
A good technique is how
do you manipulate a phrase
in such a way with giving
it colors and stuff
that you can actually
make it sound amazing.
Once you have that technique,
then you have to have,
I suppose, a vision, of what
to do with the technique,
and I suppose that's in
acting the same thing.
Yeah, I think so.
I think there are different
layers of preparation,
different layers of performance.
For me personally,
I find out how
I'm going to do it by doing it.
Okay, yes.
- You too?
- Yeah, oh yes.
- Oh, no kidding?
- Oh, no no no no.
I don't have a plan.
When the music speaks to me,
I react.
But you know when something is
planned, it'll sound planned.
Boy, I think that's so true.
I don't want to hear a report
on what they decided to do.
I want to hear something
lived for the first time.
Ah, now we're talking.
You know, as I'm getting
older, I don't know,
do you find as you're getting
older, you don't like anybody?
No, no, I've got the
opposite as I get older.
I think, oh, my God,
look what they can do.
You said it.
Was either of your parents
- No.
- No, no?
So where did you get it?
Finally, the little boy, Moshe.
"Yes, Moshe," he says,
"Pushkin's bar mitzvah?"
The first time I
heard Martha play Bach, I said
that's the piano
that I want to hear
when I play these sonatas.
You get inspired
with what you hear.
It's a very special
and I am completely enchanted
these days.
Well, it's like having a
- Completely.
- Which is nice.
- That was good.
- That's really good.
We've been waiting for 15
minutes for the bathroom.
We finally managed to open
the door, he's completely out.
We can't continue
the recording session
until Itzhak can go to the
bathroom, this is the only
accessible bathroom in the
entire recording studio.
- This is a new one for me.
- Okay, here we go.
Over this way.
Okay, it's clear.
I'm going into the bathroom,
thank you very much.
I think the piano's too
loud, I think a little bit.
A little bit, or give me
more violin.
Well, many, many things
that I have to fix.
- Me, too.
- Yeah.
But do you think
in general, what do you think?
I think in general, it's fine.
Once I wake up,
then it'll be fine.
I was sleeping there.
Would you like to
hold a cheap Strad?
- Sure.
- Okay.
I actually want you
to inspect the case.
The violin is good, the
case is the one.
I'm going to the coast,
so I just want you to look
to see are there any openings
or anything like this.
Make sure that it's all happy.
So to speak.
Why do you do that?
If I find an open spot,
it actually makes it louder.
So, if I miss something, this
tells me,
hey, look here again.
No, it's all good.
Oh, so now there are no
No excuses.
Oh, there was an excuse, the
bridge was not quite right.
A little bit.
There we go, nice and straight.
You know, as clean,
as beautiful as it is,
it's slightly uneven, which
gives it a very sort of,
organic feeling to it.
Uneven where?
Well, you know, look at
the black of the paraffin.
One side is slightly
thicker than the other side.
Then it goes from thinner
to slightly thicker.
So, does that have to do with
the tools?
This one is quite unusual
because this one still retains
a lot of tool marks.
- I like that.
- That's beautiful.
So, why does
this thing sound good?
I wish I knew.
Why don't all Strads sound like
this one?
Is it an accident?
It is maybe in part an
accident, and a very lucky one
for that matter because
there is other 17, 14, 15.
Yeah, they don't
sound like this.
You know they sound
great, but not like this one.
All I know is, when
I first played on it,
I couldn't believe it.
I just remember that we got
a house and we had no money
and then I got the phone
call that this was for sale
and I turned to my wife
and I said,
"what are we gonna do now?"
She says, "so we take another
I said, "okay, fine,
let's take another loan.
"We're still paying it."
When you own a dog and you are
nervous, your dog is nervous.
And if you are calm,
your dog is calm.
It's the same with the
violin, if you start trying
to figure out what would
make it sound better,
it always needs adjustments.
It's a living thing,
in some ways.
It moves with the weather.
The material itself moves,
so everyday you pick it up,
it's gonna feel different,
sound different.
I play all my concerts
on this,
and it's my dream violin and
every time I look at it, I say,
"I'm very lucky."
I can make things work
on this violin easily.
It responds to the color
it responds to my concept
of sound.
I have a particular concept
of sound and when I play
on this violin,
it gives it to me.
Thank you.
All tuned, everybody?
When I heard, I went.
It stopped vibrating
for some reason.
So that , make sure
that beat is vibrated.
Okay, one more time, one.
Bring it forward.
Bravo, bravo, bravo, bravo.
I sincerely believe
that it was this commitment
that you made to teaching that
put your playing on the
level that it is today.
- No, absolutely.
- I believe that.
And I always say to my
students, never ever miss
an opportunity to teach,
because when you teach others,
you teach yourself and I
find that in my playing.
I think Toby's right, my playing
has taken a different kind
of meaning because I am
basically teaching myself
at all times because I'm
listening on a certain level.
In school curriculums,
when budgets are tight,
music education, fine arts is
the first thing that gets cut.
Why is it important?
Why should it be an integral
part of child development?
Society is not complete
without the arts, it's just not.
Music gives us permission
to dream,
and out of our dreams sometimes
something important happens.
It gives us,
permission to feel,
to be human.
It's what separates us from,
I mean,
you watch the films
of these monkeys,
and they are so smart and
they're smarter
than a lot of people we know,
but you know,
but the fact is that we are
separated by very little,
and music is one of the things
and art, that separates us.
On the way here today,
we were driving here,
we listened to, we listen
a lot to the opera channel,
and suddenly this voice,
this song...
Marian Anderson singing
a spiritual.
I thought you were gonna
crash the car,
because the beauty was
such that, you know,
I couldn't breathe.
Well, that's the point,
especially in this world.
I always feel, am I not
lucky to be able to be affected
by music like that.
I consider myself lucky,
both of us,
who can just listen to
something and just be so moved.
And now it's my
pleasure and honor to introduce
the laureate of 2016
of the Genesis Prize,
Mr. Itzhak Perlman.
This award is unique in
providing an opportunity to do
something meaningful
with a generous
one-million dollar prize.
Most prizes, you get the
prize, and it's very nice.
Here, you get the prize
and you give it right back.
That's what makes it so Jewish.
This prize makes you work
at charity.
It's not something
that you can say,
"here's money, take it,
I did my job."
I think the decision
to give to primarily
to disability and music
or a combination thereof
is the right decision
for us because
that's the focus of our lives.
Architects and
interior designers
should take special courses.
I mean, how do you
design a room in a hotel
that would actually, do
you know how many time
I get into the wall and
I smash into the wall,
and I go into the bathroom
and I have to really maneuver?
So what about endowing
an architectural prize
that recognizes brilliance
in disability access design?
- That is an incredible idea.
- That is such a good idea!
There are so many places
where you can't get in.
And you cannot imagine how
hostile that makes me feel.
How hostile that makes me feel...
Oh, I can imagine.
Yes, we all grew up
with you going,
"I hate this, bleep!
"I hate it!"
Right, so that was
basically our whole lives.
So we have no idea what you're
talking about with hostility
The perspective about
food actually has to do
with your childhood, because
sometimes when food is really
rotten and you have it
as a child,
then you think it's great.
For example, and I think
we should all agree here.
Gefilte fish.
Don't you think it's kind
of theoretically yucky?
No, I love it.
You love it,
why do you like it?
I don't think it's
theoretically yucky, either.
I mean, think about it.
- Chopped fish.
- It's like a canel.
- With sugar, boiled.
- Delicious.
I mean, what could be
more disgusting?
And yet, we all love it.
So, are you excited
about meeting Netanyahu?
Yes, meeting every head of
state is exciting in a way.
Very exciting.
Meeting the head of a state.
We don't have to talk politics,
we can talk about food.
We can talk about music.
Don't touch it.
- I shouldn't?
- No, because she is biting.
- She's biting?
- She's biting?
- Ah, do do.
- She's biting?
Her name is Kia.
Kia, oh, you're a good dog.
Oh, yes, you're a good dog.
She is a biting dog, you
know, but she likes you.
We have two dogs,
one is called Multek,
and the other one
is called Boicheck.
My job is, when I am in the
city, I have the night walk.
- I'm walking at night.
- You live in Washington DC?
No, no, no, New York,
New York.
When I was a student at the
Juilliard School in New York,
a lady of means helped me
out by providing taxi money
for the trips to and
from the school,
and funds for books
and sheet music.
It wasn't a lot of money,
but it made a difference.
Her pure agenda taught me
something about giving.
Developing promising new talent
is something my wife Toby
and I have always supported
through the Perlman Music
Program and we have made it
our mission
to cultivate performers
over the years.
What we named this area
is the Triangle of Peace.
It's the only place in the
country that has a synagogue,
a church and a mosque,
together joint,
and it's like a triangle.
It's not easy to live in a
mixed city together all the time
but we are striving
to make it work.
I was inspired
to start this program
by my own life experience
in school.
I wasn't a good student
on the violin,
I wasn't a particularly
or exciting violinist,
so I had to struggle
kind of on all levels,
and the more I looked
around, the more I felt that
especially at music
programs, the more I felt
that I could make a difference.
The curriculum was ready to go,
but more important than the
curriculum, the philosophy.
Because, you see, the
music is just an excuse.
This program is about life.
What happens when
you play a phrase,
whatever it is, a quartet here
and so on,
and somebody is
slightly out of tune?
How do you deal with that
without hurting somebody's
feelings and without
seeming, you know, arrogant?
And just to say, "hey, that's
no good," is not helpful.
Yeah, yeah okay.
A lot of people will say,
"can we listen to you teach
"one of your best students?"
And we never do that,
because we feel that there
is no such thing
as the best student.
Right, there's no such thing,
every child develops at his
or her own pace, they come to
us out of these competitive
situations and we are
exactly the opposite.
Can I see what that
looks like?
It's supposed to be a tiny
Hello, my name is Ding Dong,
and I represent all of your
childhood imaginary friends.
Can't you tell?
Okay, good, so why don't
we do the first movement?
My teacher in Israel, she
was sort of my only teacher
for eight years.
The chemistry between me,
my teacher, my parents,
it was like the triangle
of Hell.
Where my teacher would
give my parents hell,
and then my parents would give
me hell.
And then my teacher would
give me hell separately,
and so it was hell, hell.
There were threats they would
take me out of the house
and put me in some
institution or something.
I remember their words
all the time in Hebrew.
"He has no ambition,
he has no ambition."
They were always looking at
other students at that time.
They said, "look at this
guy, look at this guy.
"And you don't care."
Maybe that was a good thing.
Well, you were focused
then, as you are now,
on how you play the phrase,
on how you approach the piece.
Maybe another child would
have caved under the pressure
and become dysfunctional.
For me, I think you have to
have the ability to evolve.
Some people don't have
the ability to evolve.
They're at their prime
when they're 12.
- That's what we want to avoid.
- Yeah, yeah.
In terms of you,
I was in the camp
with Miss DeLay and your mother.
I had no doubt,
so I never worried.
That made two of us.
You always worried!
Yeah, yeah, that's my mother.
She worried, she was
a big worrier.
That's where I get it from.
But be fair, growing
up the way she grew up,
in the ghetto in Poland,
and her life,
I mean, of course she worried.
She didn't trust anybody.
She felt that if somebody
did something good,
there was a hidden agenda.
But I think, I do think
that people of her age,
in that generation, Jews,
who suffered and struggled,
'cause all Jews suffered
and struggled
in different ways.
You know, my parents lived
in New York.
My parents were born in America,
and both of were the victims
of anti-semitism here,
but I don't think you can
compare it
to the experience that your
parents had.
That's true, absolutely.
So, the instruments were
confiscated by the Germans?
By the Germans, the people
who came to Auschwitz,
they came always with violin.
People never left the
violin, don't forget it.
And then they confiscated
it, send them to the gas,
and then they gave it
to the orchestra.
The man survived because
he played the orchestra.
I wonder if there were some
people that couldn't really
play very well, but just said,
"I'll do it, just for..."
And none of
them continued to play,
except one or two after the war.
In other words, this
was strictly for survival.
When people asked once,
Isaac Stern,
why so many Jewish people
are playing the violin,
his answer was, "this is the
easiest instrument to pick up
"and to run away."
When they were listening
to the playing, for them,
they were not in the camp,
they were out,
and you know what is five
minutes not to be in Auschwitz?
Even in your mind?
That's life-saving.
That's the power of the violin.
May I ask you to play a
little bit of Schindler's List
on the Auschwitz violin?
You know, it's incredible,
with Schindler's List,
when I go around the world,
the only piece that people
ask to play is that.
You know, when you start
imagining what's happening,
it's very moving.
You know, what this violin
has seen,
if it could tell it to us
by words.
Yeah, yeah.
He got a gift, because
what he is doing there,
it's not music, this is
praying with the violin.
I think a lot in life is luck,
because who knew that
we would grow together?
We wouldn't grow apart.
Who knew that we would
both be baseball fanatics?
You know, all of these
little pieces of life
that are really important.
It's one thing to love the guy
you marry,
but to also respect the guy
you marry.
This is perfect, perfect,
and now I'm going to shoot
the dog.
Get outside, I really don't
like all this barking,
and now you're gonna stay
outside, yeah.
Number one son, exhausted
number one son.
That's me.
Oh, hello, young man,
how are you?
- Hey.
- Hello.
Chicken's in the oven,
duck's in the oven.
Duck, nice!
Which is right from the lalo,
and I don't know
what came first.
And she told me to get a
lot of stuff to choose from,
but I haven't gotten it yet.
You should get,
play some Feray.
I don't know, I like the
You like the Mendelssohn,
And she also said today,
maybe Mendelssohn sonata.
That's a nice piece,
difficult for piano,
because piano has a lot of...
Can you pour?