For two decades, Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein has dedicated himself to restoring violins played by musicians during the Holocaust. With the help of his son, Avshi, these once-silent violins can be played again. Now known as the Violins of Hope, nine of these special instruments were hand-delivered by Avshi Weinstein for a performance at Music Hall under the auspices of the Holocaust & Humanity Center.
“These violins witnessed the worst of humanity in ghettos and concentration camps, but serve as symbols of hope and resistance. This was a once-in-a-lifetime concert event that proved that hope can be found in the darkest times,” said Sarah Weiss, executive director of HHC.“These violins witnessed the worst of humanity in ghettos and concentration camps, but serve as symbols of hope and resistance. This was a once-in-a-lifetime concert event that proved that hope can be found in the darkest times.” -Sarah Weiss
Evans Mirageas, Cincinnati Opera artistic director, served as artistic adviser of Violins of Hope.
The concert included performances by members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée, and members of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Eckart Preu.
Individual performers included CSO cellist Ilya Finkelstein and keyboardist Michael Chertock; violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Elena Kholodova; violinists Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky, members of the Ariel Quartet; baritone Simon Barrad; and pianist Kseniia Polstiankina.
The Ariel Quartet, CCM’s string quartet-in-residence, has a shared history with Holocaust survivor and famed violinist Henry Meyer. The group’s origins can be traced to the CCM-based LaSalle Quartet that Meyer co-founded. Meyer, a survivor of four camps, lost his entire family in the Holocaust. His story was featured in the Violins of Hope concert.
In January 2019, HHC will relocate to Union Terminal.
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Photo credit: Philip Groshong