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Landmark Community-Wide Partnership Brings the Violins of Hope to Nashville in 2018

September 12, 2017

More than two dozen organizations teaming up to present performances, lectures & more, along with a free exhibit of rare instruments that survived The Holocaust
Nashville, Tenn. (September 12, 2017) – A diverse array of local organizations – including the Nashville Symphony, Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Ballet, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Blair School of Music and other areas at Vanderbilt University and many more – today revealed plans for a collaborative effort that will bring a rare collection of instruments called the Violins of Hope to Nashville in the spring of 2018.
The Violins of Hope – the majority of which were played by Jewish musicians interned in concentration camps during the Holocaust – will arrive in Music City from Israel in mid-March 2018. Restored and refurbished by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, these instruments will be the centerpiece of a months-long initiative designed to foster a city-wide dialogue on music, art, social justice and free expression.
The instruments have previously been the subject of a best-selling book by James A. Grymes and a critically acclaimed documentary, Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust.
“Each of these instruments has a remarkable story to tell about resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable difficulty,” said Alan D. Valentine, Nashville Symphony president and CEO. “This singular collection will serve as a springboard for many of Nashville’s cultural organizations to explore the vital role that music, the arts and creativity play in all of our lives. We are thrilled to be working with so many enthusiastic partners on this historic initiative.”
“The Jewish Federation of Nashville is honored to partner with the Nashville Symphony in bringing the Violins of Hope to Nashville,” said Mark S. Freedman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. “For our Jewish community, this represents a profoundly important opportunity to let these sacred instruments provide a measure of redemption to the millions of Holocaust victims who perished simply because they were Jews. These violins should serve as a clarion call throughout our city that the words ‘Never Again’ must resonate through every one of us in our collective struggle to overcome bigotry and hatred.”
More than two dozen Nashville-area groups and organizations are involved in the project, and scores of local events – ranging from musical performances, art exhibits, lectures and more – are planned, including:
  • Author James Grymes and instrument restorer Avshi Weinstein will speak at the Southern Festival of Books (October 14, Main Public Library)
  • Vanderbilt Holocaust Lecture Series (October 24 & 28, Vanderbilt University)
  • Nashville Ballet performs Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project (February 9-11, TPAC)
  • “Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex,” photography exhibit by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick (February 23-May 28, Frist Center for the Visual Arts)
  • Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony perform John Williams’ Three Pieces from Schindler’s List and the world premiere and live recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalot,”  with orchestra musicians performing on the Violins of Hope (March 22-24, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • Violins of Hope Exhibit – free and open to the public (March 26-May 28, Main Public Library)
  • “Voices of Hope” youth choral festival, featuring ensembles from across Tennessee (March 26, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • “We Shall Overcome: Civil Rights and the Nashville Press 1957–1968,” photography exhibit (March 30-October 7, Frist Center for the Visual Arts)
  • “Nick Cave: Feat. Nashville,” live performance by visual artist Nick Cave (April 6, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, presented by the Frist Center)
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day / Yom HaShoah Memorial Service (April 12, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • Joshua Bell performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Nashville Symphony (May 9, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • A series of six concerts and lectures at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music
Many more events – including chamber concerts, movie screenings, community dialogues and more – will be announced in the months to come.
Information on the Violins of Hope, including a regularly updated schedule of events, is available online at:
Violins of Hope Nashville Program Partners
Akiva School
Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt
Belcourt Theatre
Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt
Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival
Christ Church Cathedral
Congregation Micah
Fisk University and the Fisk Jubilee Singers
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Humanities Tennessee
Jewish Federation & Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee
Lipscomb University
Nashville Ballet
Nashville Children’s Theatre
Nashville Film Festival
Nashville Jewish Film Festival
Nashville Repertory Theatre
Nashville Public Library
National Museum of African American Music
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt
OZ Arts Nashville
Parnassus Books
Tennessee Arts Commission
Tennessee Holocaust Commission
Tennessee State Museum
Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Lecture Series
Vox Grata Women's Choir

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