East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Cowan Center brought Itzhak Perlman to Tyler in 2009

(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)


The University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center and East Texas Symphony Orchestra are jointly presenting one of the world’s most accomplished musicians - cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The concert will take place Sept. 17 at the performance hall.

“It has been a dream for more than 15 years to bring Yo-Yo Ma to the era,” Susan Thomae-Morphew said in a news release, announcing the big news.

It is not the first time these two organizations have collaborated to bring a world-class musician to Tyler. In 2009, their efforts brought violinist Itzhak Perlman to Tyler.

His appearance with East Texas Symphony Orchestra promoted as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for East Texans.

It was indeed a big deal.

It is a good time to look back at the day the world’s best violinist came to town.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph, praised the concert in the following editorial.

Tyler fell in love with Itzhak Perlman Saturday night.

Considered by most to be the world’s reigning virtuoso of the violin, Perlman wrapped the audience in the gentle perfection of his music, performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, then brought them to their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation, heart-felt and lasting.

Perlman, brought to Tyler in a special collaboration between the East Texas Symphony Orchestra Association and the University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center, capped off an already excellent program as ETSO Music Director and Conductor Per Brevig led the symphony in a centennial celebration of the birth of American composer Leonard Bernstein.

But the night belonged to Perlman. And the response of the audience was pure rapture.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of his American debut in America, when as a 14-year-old child prodigy he appeared on “Ed Sullivan’s Caravan of Stars,” Perlman shows no sign of slowing the pace that has made him a music superstar, bringing joy to millions with his artistry.

ETSO and the Cowan Center worked for years to bring the Perlman concert to fruition, seeking to fulfill the dreams of the late Mrs. David Braithwaite, who endowed each organization with funding for the purpose of bringing renowned artists to Tyler.

Along with support of the Braithwaite Performing Arts Program at the East Texas Communities Foundation, Perlman’s appearance in Tyler was sponsored by Perlman Patrons Michelle and Tim Brookshire, Terry and Dennis Darryl, D.M. Edwards and W.C. Edwards, Frances and Bill Gibson and the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Itzhak Perlman brought his talent and 295-year-old Stradivarius to Tyler and left his audience with memories that will last forever.

Perlman, who lost the use of his legs after contracting polio at the age of four, struggles onto the stage, sitting as he plays. But the perfection that flows from his violin invariably brings audiences to their feet, as they did Saturday night in Tyler.

“Perfectly Perlman,” said the front page headline in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. The headline writer was spot on with that one.

Bravo to ETSO, the Cowan Center and the sponsors who brought Itzhak Perlman to Tyler.

And bravo to a man whose talent and passion for music continues to bring joy to so many.


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