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The Juilliard Orchestra with Itzhak Perlman, Conductor, at Alice Tully Hall

- Classical and Cultural Connections: Arts and Education

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The Juilliard School

Juilliard Orchestra

Itzhak Perlman, Conductor

Zlatomir Fung, Cello

Alice Tully Hall

Media Relations: Gloria Gottschalk

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 6, 2018

Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904): Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, 1896, “Allegro”, “Adagio”, ma non troppo”, “Finale: Allegro moderato”.

Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Enigma Variations, Op. 36 (Variations on an Original Theme), 1899.

What a joy to see Itzhak Perlman onstage again, this time warmly and ebulliently conducting the Juilliard Orchestra at Tully Hall. Mr. Perlman, himself a Juilliard alumnus, is an international star violinist, performing onstage with top orchestras, chamber ensembles, and piano-violin duos around the globe. Mr. Perlman is also hailed for his music education programs, his Grammy and Emmy Awards, and his Kennedy Center Honor. As always, Mr. Perlman had the full focus of the Juilliard students, who obviously revere and adore him as their Conductor for this popular concert event. Tully Hall was packed, and the audience, Juilliard friends and family, also included Perlman fans and music aficionados. The program was designed for richly hued musicality.

The Antonin Dvořák Cello Concerto in B minor brought out Zlatomir Fung, solo cellist, who has Bulgarian and Chinese roots. He won first prize in the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition, and he was invited to perform with Poland’s Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. After Maestro Perlman’s effusive welcome, the “Allegro” introduced the charismatic Mr. Fung, who echoed and blended with the Concerto’s orchestral theme on his loaned, 1705 Mattio Popella cello. This first movement ends in brassy flourishes. The “Adagio, ma non troppo” was lyrical with windy rhythmic effects. Mournful refrains ensued as well as songbird imagery on flutes. The movement fades into solemn elegance. The “Finale: Allegro moderato” was poignant in tonal momentum, like buzzing bees, amidst rippling waterfalls of musicality. This Finale evoked dance and sunlight with a shimmering cello solo, followed by merging orchestral strings. Right after intermission, the Orchestra was reconfigured and Maestro Perlman took the stage at his podium once again. His transparent joy and that of his audience were immediately apparent. The students absorbed the ambiance of reverence and artistic respect.

Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations was used as one of the late, modern dance giants, Paul Taylor’s, final scores in 2017 for The Open Door. After Elgar’s Theme, there are fourteen variations, played without pause, so each variation melds into the next. The undulating, fused Theme, with drumrolls and mystery, was followed by swirling staccato and serendipitous, filmatic melody. Soon the next variation turns wild and loose, with timpani and brass in a split-timed finish. Romantic yearning appears, and I became aware of spotlighted student soloists, in astounding professional maturity. Stormy tempestuous timpani were soon followed by billowy, blended woodwinds. Balletic tonal imagery took shape, wistful as a butterfly, then theatrically dramatic. Introspective celli ensued, then pulsating horns, and then ebullient, feverish drums. Charged, energized momentum ended the piece. Kudos to Maestro Itzhak Perlman, kudos to Juilliard Orchestra and Zlatomir Fung, cellist, and kudos to Dvořák and Elgar.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at