Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Toby Perlman

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SARASOTA - This week’s Amazing Woman is Toby Perlman, wife of violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Itzhak ranks as one of the greatest musicians of our time. His immense fame sometimes eclipses the brilliant woman beside him, who has created a unique and enormously successful music program that has changed many lives.

Toby Perlman was born in New York's upper west side. Her father started her on the violin at age 6. "My father, who was a bad violinist, he saw I had this sensitivity to music."

She met Itzhak Perlman at a summer music camp when they were teens. "He played at the first concert of the summer and I went back stage and asked him to marry me."

How did the gifted young musician react? “He didn't say anything he was 17-years-old and he didn't go to high school. He was home. He was aghast."

But they became friends. "The friendship was all about the music."

They eventually married and had 5 children. She put her career on hold, but as soon as the children were old enough she followed her own dream. "When it came my turn, the Perlman Music Program was born. Until then, it was an idea very clear in my head."

She had definite ideas about better educating students. "The trick is to stay small and by staying small we can focus on each child."

Alumni from the Perlman Music Program are already making an impact on the music world. It’s a great reward for this incredible woman. "I'm having a great time, I enjoying my life."

She also says sometimes she can't believe where her life has taken her. "We were just at the White House. It's so exciting. I can't even believe my life."

Toby Perlman is truly an Amazing Woman, and the Perlman Music Program that she created is starting its 10th annual residency program in Sarasota this week. You are invited to come out and hear them perform for free.

For more information on the Perlman Music Program click here.