PHOTO: Izhtak Perlman

IT’S NOT every day that a world-class musician comes to town, let alone one of the world’s greatest violinists of all time, so Itzhak Perlman’s sold-out season opening concert at the University of Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium on Saturday was one for the history books.

UMW Philharmonic Conductor Kevin Bartram called Perlman’s virtuoso rendition of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and other works, including his violin solos from “Schindler’ List,” “hauntingly beautiful” and “a real treat for the audience.” The audience of nearly 1,300 music lovers expressed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

This was the second time the UMW Philharmonic, now in its 49th season, has welcomed Perlman to its 15-year-old Celebrity Concert Series, which runs from October to April. The legendary violinist played his 1714 Stradivarius violin to another sold-out crowd in Dodd Auditorium five years ago.

Other well-known musicians have also graced Fredericksburg and the UMW Philharmonic—which is comprised of students and musicians from the local community—with their musical talents, including Marvin Hamlisch, Tony Bennett, Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming and Kristin Chenoweth. But Perlman—with 15 Grammy Awards, a Medal of Liberty, a National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center honors and chart-topping recordings to his name—is in a class by himself.

That this classical music titan, who has performed on most of the great stages of the world, decided to come back to play in tiny Fredericksburg a second time is a rare honor for the city and a testimony to the warm welcome he must have received the last time he was here.

Bravo to Maestro Bartram and the rest of the UMW musicians and staff for making the magic happen a second time.

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