The Perlman Music Program (PMP) Annual Summer Gala returned to its campus on Shelter Island and the evening, as usual, was a celebration resounding with extraordinary music and camaraderie.
Guests arrived to a lovely alfresco cocktail party with signature cocktails, a raw bar, and local wines and artisanal cheeses. The guests then moved to the camp’s large concert tent for performances by the PMP String Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Maestro Itzhak Perlman and Choral Master Patrick Romano. The performance was followed by a scrumptious buffet dinner provided by some of the finest restaurants on the island including The Chequit Inn, Keren Bakes, La Maison Blanche, Little Peconic Purveyors, PMP Chef James Moran, Ram’s Head Inn, SALT, Sunset Beach, Sweet Tomato’s, and Vine Street Café.
Of course dinner at the PMP Summer Gala would not be complete without an appearance by the Perltones. Once again the Maestro, Romano and two other members of the faculty serenaded the crowd a cappela with some pop and r&b classics.
Among the many notables attending were long time PMP supporters Alan and Arlene Alda. The popular actor and long time Hampton resident commented, “It is so wonderful to be here on the campus for the gala it is so wonderful how these kids work together and enjoy each other’s company with no sense of competition. It is what the program reaches for and it is just great to see it.” Also on hand for the performance was the Hamptons’ favorite Piano Man Billy Joel.
Now in its 19th season the PMP’s Summer Music Camp brings together 40 string players age 12-18 for seven weeks of intense study and inspired music making. Surrounded by the exquisite beauty of Shelter Island, the young musicians receive daily instruction from a superb faculty with a student to teacher ratio that is better than 2 to 1. Each student also receives weekly instruction from the Maestro himself.
The dream of Maestro Perlman’s wife Toby, the camp strives to create an environment of camaraderie rather than competition as reflected in the fact that there are no first chairs, or rather, students during concerts move between chairs between pieces. An unfamiliar situation for most of the students who undoubtedly, based on their talent, are the first chairs in their home orchestras. Also notable is the fact that all students, faculty and camp staff are required to join together daily for choral rehearsal. The ear-to-ear smiles during performances clearly reflect that chorus is enjoyed by all at the camp, as they come together in a single glorious voice.
Admittance to the program is understandably very competitive and once accepted the students have the opportunity to attend each summer and continue their association as PMP alumni after they turn 18. Acceptance is based on the faculty meticulously reviewing performance tapes submitted by hopeful students. The admission process is need-blind and no student is ever turned away based on an inability to pay tuition.
Undoubtedly one of the premiere music programs in the world, students not only receive the finest in musical instruction, the Perlman Music Program also fosters integrity, camaraderie and friendships that last a lifetime.