Virginia Arts Festival presents Violins of Hope

by | Aug 19, 2021 | What’s Happening

Wednesday, October 6, 7:30 pm, Norfolk Academy

Co-presented with the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

Virginia Arts Festival will present a concert showcasing instruments that echo with history and hope when violins recovered from the Holocaust are used in a performance that includes works by some Jewish composers who languished and died in World War II Nazi concentration camps.

“These violins are the voices of gifted musicians and some composers who were victims of the Holocaust,” says Robert W. Cross, Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic director. “They represent the incredible courage of a generation decimated by war and hate. It is an honor to hear them play.”

A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, the Violins of Hope comprise a collection of instruments that tell remarkable stories of the defiance, resilience, and legacy of Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein has spent the last two decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. He dedicates this important work to relatives he never knew. Weinstein’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins remained in Eastern Europe when his parents, Moshe and Golda, immigrated in 1938 to Palestine, where Moshe opened a violin shop. After the war, Moshe learned that his entire family—400 in all—had been murdered during the Holocaust.

One of the most respected violin makers in the world, Amnon Weinstein determined to reclaim his lost heritage. He started locating violins that were played by Jews in the camps and ghettos, painstakingly piecing them back together so they could be brought to life again on the concert stage. Although most of the musicians who originally played the instruments were silenced in the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the violins that he has lovingly restored. Weinstein calls these instruments the Violins of Hope.

The Virginia Arts Festival concert featuring some of these violins is part of a regional tour—Violins of Hope Richmond—showcasing these instruments of inspiration. Richmond’s Virginia Holocaust Museum is hosting an exhibition of some of the violins through October 24. Companion exhibitions of the violins will be on display at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture and the Black History Museum & Culture Center of Virginia.

Information and tickets available at Tickets: $25; Students under 25, $10.