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

January 19, 2011

Virtuoso violinist who survived polio as a child will perform in special benefit concert to protect the world’s children

CHICAGO, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Rotary International joins violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and members of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor James DePreist, to present the Concert to End Polio, a benefit performance supporting the global effort to eradicate this disabling childhood disease.

The Concert to End Polio will take place on Monday, March 7, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. at Chicago’s Symphony Center.

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. Mr. DePreist is also a polio survivor.

In this historic, one-night-only performance, Mr. Perlman and Mr. DePreist will help Rotary in its effort to raise $200 million to match a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All of the resulting $555 million will fund critical eradication activities in developing countries where polio still threatens children.

“We are honored that Mr. Perlman will again join Rotary, along with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to support our effort to achieve a polio-free world,” said The Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar. “The participation of Mr. Perlman and Mr. DePreist demonstrates the importance of this unprecedented global health initiative. A world without polio will be our lasting gift to humanity.”

“The fact that polio is still around is ridiculous,” said Mr. Perlman, winner of 15 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. “There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to get polio. This is an issue that has to be dealt with immediately.”

Complete program details follow:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra members

James DePreist, conductor

Itzhak Perlman, violin

Berlioz The Corsair Overture, Op. 21

Stravinsky Suite from The Firebird (1919 Revision)

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64

Kreisler Liebesfreud

Tickets: $50-$200. A private reception ($150) with Mr. Perlman will follow the concert. All proceeds will benefit Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.

Tickets may be purchased online at cso.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Tickets can be purchased by calling CSO ticketing services at 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, online at cso.org, or by visiting the Symphony Center box office at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

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 in 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. Bank of America is the global sponsor of the CSO. For more information about the CSO, visit cso.org.

For more information on the polio eradication effort and how to support it, visit rotary.org/endpolio

SOURCE Rotary International

Source: newswire

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