GRAMMY-AWARD winning violinists Miri Ben-Ari (far left) and Itzhak Perlman take part in the America Israel Cultural Foundation’s 75th anniversary concert in New York. .
(photo credit: (AICF/CHRIS LEE))
Famed Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman was announced yesterday as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate, joining the ranks of Michael Bloomberg and Michael Douglas.
The $1 million prize, launched in 2014 and dubbed by Time magazine as “the Jewish Nobel,” is awarded by the Genesis Prize Foundation to those who have made a significant contribution to humanity and inspired others with their involvement and dedication to the both the Jewish community and Israel.
A child prodigy, Perlman, 70, trained first at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv before studying at New York’s Juilliard Academy. Since then, the virtuoso violinist and conductor has played with nearly every major orchestra in the world, notably taking part in the Israel Philharmonic’s first concerts in the Soviet Union in 1990. Just last month, Perlman received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will award the Genesis Prize to Perlman at a ceremony in Jerusalem on June 23, said: “I congratulate Itzhak Perlman on being selected as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate and on being named a recipient of the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. I am proud that such prestigious awards have been bestowed on a citizen of Israel. While it is coincidental that these announcements came close together, they provide an opportunity to reflect on Itzhak’s exceptional and varied contribution to humanity in his role as the ‘Fiddler to the World.’” In response to the announcement, Perlman said, “I am humbled and honored to receive the Genesis Prize, recognizing not just my professional achievements and my desire to improve the world, but also my commitment to my Jewish identity, Jewish values and Jewish culture.”
Stan Polovets, chairman and co-founder of the Genesis Prize, said: “Itzhak Perlman is the embodiment of everything an ideal Genesis Prize Laureate should be. Itzhak has achieved unparalleled professional success, and through his music brings joy to millions of people around the world.”