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Itzhak Perlman joins Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central

Itzhak Perlman joins Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central
Violinist Itzhak Perlman performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic earlier this month at the Hollywood Bowl. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Violinst Itzhak Perlman took a break from his performance schedule this week to put in a guest appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." The episode aired Wednesday night and featured the famed violinist performing Fritz Kreisler's "Spanish Dance" from "La vida breve."

At the start of the show, Colbert jokingly warned against using the word "fingering." His conversation with Perlman was relaxed and casual, with a reference to the violinist's upcoming appearance at the opening gala of the New York Philharmonic on Sept. 27. (Colbert himself appeared with the orchestra in a performance of Sondheim's "Company" in 2011.)

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Perlman proved a capable foil to Colbert's jokes. The Israeli-born musician spoke about starting his violin studies at the age of 3 after hearing a performance on the radio. Earlier this month, Perlman released a new album, "Eternal Echoes,"  featuring Jewish songs in collaboration with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.

"The Colbert Report" website features a bonus performance by Perlman -- Kreisler's "Liebesfreud," accompanied by pianist Rohan de Silva. Here is the video of the bonus performance.

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