April 24, 2023

Susquehanna University hosted internationally renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, with pianist Rohan De Silva, for a magical performance in Weber Chapel Auditorium.

The evening’s program was made possible by the Stella Freeman Weis Cultural Endowment. Established in 1976, the endowment was funded by Patricia Weis and her late husband, Robert, for whom the recital was dedicated.

“We were honored, thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Weis, to provide the opportunity for our community to see and hear Mr. Perlman,” said University President Jonathan Green. “He gave an emotionally stirring performance that no one who was in attendance will soon forget.”

Perlman delighted concertgoers with pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Leclair, Schumann and others, as well as the Theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams.

Anissa DeCapria ’98 Sanduta attended the event with her 11-year-old daughter, Olivia.

“As soon as I saw Mr. Perlman was going to perform in our central Pennsylvania community, I knew I needed to experience his incredible talent. I also wanted to expand my artistic daughter’s musical horizons,” DiCapria-Sanduta said. “The experience of watching Mr. Perlman nimbly perform with such ease, beauty and delicacy will be a treasured memory for both of us.”

Andrew DiRienzo ’25, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, a music education major with a focus in piano, turned pages for De Silva.

Itzhak Perlman at Susquehanna University Itzhak Perlman at Susquehanna UniversityHaving performed with every major orchestra and at concert halls around the globe, Perlman was granted a Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — by former President Barack Obama in 2015, a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003, a National Medal of Arts by former President Bill Clinton in 2000 and a Medal of Liberty by former President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In September 2022, President Joe Biden invited him to perform at the first-ever Jewish High Holidays reception at the White House.

Perlman has also been honored with 16 Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Genesis Prize.

In the 2022–23 season, Perlman conducts the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and the Houston Symphony on Mozart’s Requiem and is joined by an illustrious group of collaborators — Emanuel Ax, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Juilliard String Quartet — in a special Itzhak Perlman and Friends program appearing in only three locations: Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, UMS Ann Arbor and Carnegie Hall. He continues touring An Evening with Itzhak Perlman, which captures highlights of his career through narrative and multimedia elements intertwined with performance, to Boston, Philadelphia, Long Island, Akron, Austin, and Naples (Florida). He plays season-opening concerts for the Colorado Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and Florida Orchestra, and recitals across the United States with longtime collaborator Rohan De Silva.

Perlman currently serves as artistic partner of the Houston Symphony in a partnership that commenced in the 2020–21 season and culminates at the end of 2023–24. He performs nine programs across three seasons that feature him in versatile appearances as conductor, soloist, recitalist and presenter.

Perlman has an exclusive series of classes with Masterclass.com, the premier online education company that enables access to the world’s most brilliant minds, including Helen Mirren, Wolfgang Puck, Martin Scorsese and Serena Williams, as the company’s first classical-music presenter.

About Rohan De Silva

De Silva was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In addition to his successful partnership with Perlman, De Silva has also collaborated with Joshua Bell, Cho-Liang Lin, Anne Akiko Meyers, Kurt Nikkanen, Vadim Repin, Gil Shaham, Kyoko Takazawa and Midori. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the 92nd St. Y, Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Philadelphia Academy of Music, Ambassador Theater, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and Milan’s La Scala.

Among De Silva’s awards are the best accompanist special prize at the ninth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He performed at the White House in 2007 for former President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth, and in 2012 with Perlman for former President Barack Obama and Shimon Peres. He has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Midori.

De Silva holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard where he studied piano with Martin Canin and chamber music with Felix Galimir. He earned an associate degree from the Royal Academy of London in 1992 and was the recipient of the first President’s Fund scholarship from his home country to study at Juilliard. He also studied piano with Hamish Milne while attending the Royal Academy of Music from 1975–81. De Silva has been on the faculty at Juilliard since 1991.