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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Violins of Hope Brings Music Community Together With Powerful Message

Photos by Philip Groshong

Louis Langree, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director 
Eight violins, once silenced by the Holocaust were the center of a once-in-a-lifetime concert featuring Cincinnati’s finest musicians. Violins of Hope, sponsored by the Holocaust Humanity Center and held at Music Hall, featured an evening of poignant music interwoven with experiences of local Holocaust survivors and the incredible stories of the violins.
Evans Mirageas (Cincinnati Opera Artistic Director), Stefani Collins Matsuo, Gershon Gerchikov, Katherine Wooley, Alexandra Kazovsky, Giora Schmidt, Avshi Weinstein, Sarah Weiss
 The origin of the concert came from the painstaking work by Ammon Weinstein, a second-generation luthier (a builder of stringed instruments), whose father escaped Europe before World War II.  Sadly, the rest of the family did not survive. To honor the memory of his family and all who died in the Holocaust, Weinstein and his son Avshi have collected and restored dozens of instruments, many from  concentration camps where prisoners performed in orchestras organized by the Nazis.

Simon Barad and Elena Kholodova
These instruments comprise the display “Violins of Hope” at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland. Eight of these instruments - powerful symbols of hope and inspiration - were played at the Cincinnati concert by distinguished local musicians.

Ilya Finkelshteyn and Michael Chartok
Cincinnati Opera Artistic Director Evans Mirageas served as the event Artistic Advisor.  Performances included members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by CSO Music Director Louis Langré; members of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Eckart Preu; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Principal Cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn and Keyboardist, Michael Chertock; violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist, Elena Kholodova; Ariel Quartet Members violinists, Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky; baritone, Simon Barrad and pianist, Kseniia Polstiankina.

Eckart Preu, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra Director
Enjoying the reception following the concert are Father Michael Graham (President, Xavier University), Mona and Richard Kerstine, Scott Joseph
Mitch Livingston, Neville Pinto (President, University of Cincinnati), Bobby Fisher, Richard Friedman
Mona Kirstein and Christine Neyer (Hyde Park)
Major support in bringing Violins of Hope to Cincinnati was provided by Wilbur and Miriam Cohen; and Steve and Carol Boymel. 

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