Violins of Hope is a collection of restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. These instruments, 60 in total, have survived concentration camps, pogroms, and many long journeys to tell remarkable stories of injustice, suffering, resilience, and survival. Owned and restored by father-and-son violin-makers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, the collection travels to concert halls around the world. Avshi Weinstein will travel to Maine to participate in Violins of Hope Maine community and education events, including a string quartet tour of southern and central Maine visiting schools, museums, and synagogues.
The Portland Symphony Orchestra will hold a special month-long residency this October with Violins of Hope. The residency is in commemoration of the Holocaust, specifically of the 80th anniversary of the resistance of the Terezín prisoners, which took place in the form of continuing Jewish tradition at the concentration camp, and included 16 performances of Verdi’s Requiem Mass.
Exhibitions of the violins will take place at the HHRC in August and the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland. The PSO will also be hosting a number of other events, both digital and in person, surrounding these incredible instruments throughout October, which you should be sure to check out.
Violins of Hope Maine will culminate with two PSO performances of Verdi’s Requiem, under the baton of PSO Music Director Eckart Preu. PSO string players will perform on Violins of Hope instruments, allowing the voices of these instruments to be heard. The concerts will open with two works that highlight instruments from the collection, Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei and John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List. The PSO will be joined by four vocal soloists and ChoralArt Masterworks for Verdi’s Requiem. Grammy-winning PARMA will record the performances, and it will be available digitally for 30 days, from November 2 – December 2, 2022.
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