Toby Perlman has often said that she divides her adult life into two parts: chapter one, the years during which she was the prototype of the old fashioned housewife, identified by others as her children’s mother and her husband’s wife. It was a role she played for many years; complete with carpools and endless cooking – she could never go to the market enough to keep the house stocked for her five children and could never quite be on time to Carnegie Hall.
With her husband Itzhak by her side, Toby weathered their children’s illnesses and adolescent crisis and even battled cancer on multiple occasions. Through all this, she hadn’t had much time to think about what she might do when her children became independent. She had always been interested in child development and education and considered the idea of going back to school. Instead, she turned her focus to making her lifelong dream a reality.
“I was a young student at The Juilliard School, studying violin with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, when I first dreamed about creating a haven for gifted pre-college age string players. I conceived of a camp for prodigy musicians that would not only give the children the training they needed to help their musical gifts blossom, but more importantly, that would allow kids to be kids.”
Out of this dream, The Perlman Music Program was founded and the second chapter in Toby’s life began.
In addition to her work with The Perlman Music Program, Toby has appeared as a guest on various panels in New York City, speaking not only on behalf of The Perlman Music Program but also as a passionate advocate for the arts and education. She has also appeared as a frequent guest speaker for other educational institutions such as Public Television, The University of Michigan, and musical institutions including The Juilliard School and Chamber Music America.
Toby is the wife of reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman. They have five children and eight grandchildren.