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Violinist Itzhak Perlman named artistic director of Westchester Philharmonic

Itzhak Perlman, one of the world's best known classical musicians, a violin virtuoso, has beeen named artistic director of the Westchester Philharmonic.

Perlman, 62, will conduct most of the orchestra's programs for the three years beginning next September and will perform occasionally, the New York state orchestra said Monday.

Attracting an artist of Perlman's prominence is a coup for the 25-year-old Westchester, which holds its principal concerts at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Purchase College. Its outgoing music director, Paul Lustig Dunkel, is a longtime friend of Perlman.

Neil Aaron, president of the Board of Directors, said Perlman "is a great gift to our audience and the entire Westchester community."

Perlman, who lives less than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Purchase in New York City, praised Dunkel, the orchestra members and the acoustics at Purchase and said the programs he is planning will "surprise, stimulate and ultimately satisfy Westchester's demanding and sophisticated audiences."

Perlman, born in Israel, has appeared with every major orchestra in the world and has conducted many of them. He has won four Emmy awards for his television appearances, which include "Sesame Street," late-night talk shows and a recent documentary about his work with the educational Perlman Music Program. His recordings have won 15 Grammy awards, and he was the violin soloist on the Oscar-winning movie "Schindler's List."

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