Just in: Itzhak Perlman joins the exodus

Just in: Itzhak Perlman joins the exodus


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2015

The flight from IMG Artists is starting to look like a panic rush.

Last night, ex-IMG vice-president Charlotte Lee launched her own firm. She is taking with her Itzhak Perlman, Nicky Benedetti and several other artists. Lee, 38, is the latest boutique spinoff from the disintegrating, fraudster-owned mega-agency.


charlotte lee2


The lose of Perlman is a crushing blow to an agency that aspired to prestige and world leadership. Perlman was the first superstar to join the start-up 25 years ago. Although no longer a huge earner, he added cachet to the brand.  ‘Symbolically, as well as financially, Perlman’s departure is huge,’ comments one insider. Without Itzhak, IMG will struggle to sign new string players.

Statement by Charlotte: Lee’s vision for Primo Artists is to set it apart through its personalized approach and unparalleled working relationships within the music industry. With its selective roster of some of the world’s finest classical artists, from rising stars to household names, and ideals based on exceptional service, strategic vision and expertise, Primo Artists is established to become one of the leading artist management agencies in North America. www.primoartists.com

Benefit Recital DiMenna Center  for Classical Music


  • Nigel Curtis says:

    ==Perlman….no longer a huge earner,

    Yes what is happening with Perlman ? He used to travel to Europe regularly (I remember in 80s he once came to London 4 times within 12 months) playing a vast repertoire. Now he just seems to be playing endless US concerts, often in very obscure places, with tiny repertoire.

    • CDH says:

      He’s almost 70. Is he still principal guest conductor at Detroit?

      He has made sackfuls of money. He may be “giving back,” by playing in places that previously could not have afforded him, to broaden exposure to classical violin. Though most of his forthcoming appearances seem to be in pretty big cities. Including Istanbul.

      He may be too tired for as much European travel as he once did.

      He teaches.

      Seems to me he is doing plenty.

      • Darren says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Perlman spent decades traveling around and tirelessly performing. He still does, although somewhat less which is understandable with his age. I don’t understand what people want him to do. Perform until he collapses ? On the other hand, there is a number of very old performers that went on giving terrible performances and then nobody was saluting their stamina or courage, they just got mercilessly criticized.

        Back to IMG: having big earners or not, it is always quite courageous to venture into launching own management company. The situation at IMG must have been quite horrible in order for one to just take the plunge and flee.

  • Sing It Again says:

    Charlotte Lee is one of the brightest managers in the business, and there’s no question that her new agency will be a resounding success!

  • Nick says:

    Perlman joined IMG Artists in the wake of the power struggle at ICM Artists after the early death of Shelly Gold in mid-1985. He was a symbol of the ambition of Mark McCormack and his arrival gave the young agency enormous cachet, paving the way for many more major artists to join the agency. I agree the floodgates are probably about to open

    • Play It Again Sam says:

      Not exactly. In 1985, Perlman joined Hamlen-Landau Management, which was then bought up by Mark McCormack and re-named IMG Artists.

  • Amanda Elyot says:

    This isn’t about the status of Itzhak Perlman’s career in 2014. It’s about the state of IMG Artists and it’s spectacular fall over the past handful of years. Charlotte Lee is an immensely talented and respected artists manager and her departure, along with the handful of musicians she has taken with her, is another nail in the IMG coffin.

    Aside from Perlman, she now has Nicola Benedetti for North and South America. As was reported and comments elsewhere on this site, Benedetti left IMG general management over year ago but she retained IMG New York for her American representation and she must have maintained that because of Charlotte Lee. With Lee gone, of course Benedetti would follow.

    IMG’s sad decline also shows how so many more important artists are respecting the personal relationship they have with their manager above the need to be seen to be represented by a large, “powerful” agency. The truth is that this “powerful” and once “influential” agency is a joke; that it’s most important agents have left them one by one and more and more important artists will also jump the sinking ship.

    The smell around IMG now is that anyone worth their value – whether or agent or artist – is getting out or planning to get out. Increasingly, It will look as if the ones left at IMG either as employees or musicians have no option but to go down with the ship because no one else will have them.