Around the Island

Perlman brings music and fundraising online as Island nonprofits meeting challenges

The Perlman Music Program, a centerpiece of the Island’s culture for more than a quarter century, was unable to open its camp this summer due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The camp, founded by Toby Perlman and her husband, violinist Itzhak Perlman, gives gifted young musicians the opportunity to study with outstanding artists, while affording them the opportunity to have some fun on this beautiful island in the summer.

“We used music as an excuse to build a community,” she said, speaking to the Reporter recently. That community has now grown to hundreds of alumni, many professional musicians, all sharing a strong connection to the Perlmans and Shelter Island. Ms. Perlman has expressed a philosophy that in their formative years, young music students need so much more than tutoring and practice. All the activities that children and youth enjoy in the summers should help to round out the students’ experience.

Like other nonprofits on the Island, PMP has been forced to cancel not only its programs, but its major fundraising event this summer as well. PMP reached out to offer virtual concerts this spring and summer to its friends on and off the Island, helping to relieve some of the anxiety and isolation many were feeling. It’s also hosting a Virtual Summer Gala this Friday, July 24 at 5 p.m.

Itzhak and Toby Perlman will offer a behind the scenes tour, along with special guest Alec Baldwin. There is no fee to attend, but donations are welcome. The event has been underwritten by several Island donors as well as such East End notables as Alan and Arlene Alda, Billy and Alexis Joel and Mr. Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria.

Viewers are encouraged to enjoy “a taste of the Island” at home by patronizing the event’s wine and food sponsors. The PMP website also lists auction items that will be available for bidding. All are welcome to enjoy the program online by visiting

PMP has not only served its young campers, but opened its concerts to Islanders to enjoy on the edge of Crescent Beach. Through the years, Islanders have enjoyed  attending the PMP concerts in a tent or a new indoor space, as well as walking along the beach and hearing music wafting from a cabin. While a young musician practices diligently, she is taking in the beautiful view and breezes from the bay.

“Shelter Island has been the greatest gift, the most perfect place we could have found,” Ms. Perlman said.