Itzhak Perlman and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Join Rotary's Effort to End Polio

Mar 04, 2011, 10:57 ET from Rotary International

Violin virtuoso who survived polio as a child will perform in special benefit concert to fight the disease

EVANSTON, Ill., March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rotary International, violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and guest conductor James DePreist join members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to present the Concert to End Polio to benefit the global effort to eradicate this disabling childhood disease.

WHEN: The Concert to End Polio will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7.

WHERE: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue. Chicago, IL 60604.

WHO: Violinist Itzhak Perlman, who survived polio as a child in Israel, will join acclaimed conductor and fellow polio survivor James DePreist and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Concert to End Polio.

MEDIA: Limited pre-concert interview opportunities with Mr. Perlman are available. Requests for interviews and permission to video-record during rehearsal and/or the concert (up to 59 seconds) must be approved in advance.

PHOTO OP: Beginning at 6 p.m., the Michigan Avenue exterior of Symphony Center with be illuminated with Rotary's "End Polio Now" pledge. Symphony Center will join other iconic landmarks to recently carry the display, including the Sydney Opera House, London's Tower Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, the Rome Coliseum, Egypt's Pyramid of Khafre, Chicago's Wrigley Building, the Obelisk in Argentina, and Trevi Fountain in Italy.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Polio eradication resonates strongly with Mr. Perlman, who contracted the disease at age four and overcame serious physical challenges to become one of the world's most celebrated musicians. In this historic, one-night-only performance, Mr. Perlman will help Rotary in its effort to raise $200 million to match a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The resulting $555 million will fund critical eradication activities in developing countries where polio still threatens children.

Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Since then, ending polio has been Rotary's top priority, and tremendous progress has been made. The wild poliovirus now remains endemic to only four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Worldwide, the number of polio cases has been slashed by more than 99 percent, preventing five million cases of childhood paralysis and 250,000 deaths. However, the final one percent of cases is the most difficult and expensive to prevent, which is why support for Rotary's End Polio Now campaign is crucial to the initiative's success.

A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras since its founding in 1891. In collaboration with renowned conductors and guest artists on the international music scene, the CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at its home, Symphony Center, and in summer residency at the Ravinia Festival. For more information about the CSO, visit

For more information on the polio eradication effort and how to support it, visit

Contact: Petina Dixon-Jenkins at 847.866.3054


Rachelle Roe at (312) 294.3090


SOURCE Rotary International