Peter Oundjian, as a conductor and music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, is used to being in charge. But from April 25 to 28, the student will meet his master when the violin veteran Itzhak Perlman arrives to play concertos by Beethoven and Bach. On April 28 in particular, when Mr. Perlman and his Toronto-born protégée pair up for an onstage discussion and a show of Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, Mr. Oundjian will not be the maestro of his domain.
Moreover, it will be Mr. Perlman who conducts Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Naturally the appearance of a superstar will cause big crowds at Roy Thomson Hall, but the curiosity involved with Mr. Oundjian picking up a stringed instrument has created more than a minor – D minor, to be specific – sensation. When a neurological disorder afflicted his left hand, the former member of the Tokyo String Quartet retired from performance in 1996. Next Saturday, for the first time since 2004, when he grabbed the baton here, he will play his violin with the TSO, alongside Mr. Perlman.
Last year, when the concert was announced, Mr. Oundjian clarified that it wasn’t part of a comeback. “It's a one-off performance,” he said. “I'm going to make myself practise, and reorganize my left hand. If I don't force myself to do it, it isn't going to happen.”
As it turns out, it is absolutely happening. All of Mr. Oundjian’s work has paid off, and it is hard to imagine anyone being more pleased to play, literally and figuratively, the second fiddle.
An Evening with Itzhak, April 28, 8 p.m. $49 to $179. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-593-4828; For information on Itzhak Perlman’s Toronto residency: tso.ca.