Famous Synesthetes

Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman © Jon Stich 2012

Itzhak Perlman was born in Israel in 1945 to Polish immigrant parents. He was stricken with Polio as a small child, which paralyzed his legs, and he has used a wheelchair ever since. Perlman was considered a “child prodigy” and played widely in Israel even as a child. He first played on American radio at the age of 10. Perlman moved to New York City at the tender age of 13 to study music at Juilliard, and his debut concert at Carnegie Hall took place when he was just 18. His other career highlights include several performances at the White House under different administrations, performing for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, a performance for Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, performing the violin solos for Schindler’s List, and winning four Emmy awards and fifteen Grammy awards. Perlman has played jazz and ragtime in addition to classical music and has conducted for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic. Perlman has sound-color synesthesia and describes his experiences of seeing shapes and grouping high or low tones by colors in an interview with Maureen Seaberg, found in her book, Tasting the Universe.

 

Sources:

Chambers, J. (2007). Perlman, Itzhak. In Chambers Biographical Dictionary. (8th ed.). UK: Hodder & Stoughton.

Cytowic, R. & Eagleman, D.M. (2009). Wednesday is indigo blue : Discovering the brain of synesthesia. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Legassé, P. (2000). Perlman, Itzhak. In The Columbia Encyclopedia. (6th ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Perlman, I. (2010). About Itzhak Perlman. Retrieved from http://www.itzhakperlman.com/about.

Seaberg, M. (2011). Tasting the universe. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books.