One of the refurbished Holocaust violins that has come to the Bay Area as part of the Violins of Hope event series. (Weinstein Collection)
One of the refurbished Holocaust violins that has come to the Bay Area as part of the Violins of Hope event series. (Weinstein Collection)

Violins of Hope concert set at Emanu-El for Holocaust Remembrance Day

A special event at Congregation Emanu-El for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, will feature a concert played on violins that came through the concentration camps and Jewish ghettos of World War II.

The instruments are touring the Bay Area as part of the Violins of Hope program, and will be played by local orchestras and performers and discussed in a range of educational programs.

The Israeli father and son who collected and restored the instruments, Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein, have come to San Francisco with their violins and will tell their story at the commemorative event. The pair will receive a special award from S.F.-based Israeli Consul General Shlomi Kaufman.

“It’s about fellowship, and brotherhood, and the lessons of the Holocaust for peace,” said Bay Area arts promoter Lenore Naxon, the liaison between Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area and Emanu-El, where she is a member.

After opening remarks by Emanu-El Rabbi Beth Singer and Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus, and a short keynote by Emanu-El Rabbi Sidney Mintz, Patricia Kristof Moy, producer of the Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area, will introduce the two-part program of music.


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Jake Heggie, the San Francisco-based composer commissioned to create a new chamber music work for the VOH Bay Area residency, and Gene Scheer, the librettist, will present excerpts from their new piece, “Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope.” It will be performed by violinist Hannah Tarley, mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz and a string quartet from the San Francisco Opera.

Another performance will follow featuring members of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, including four musicians playing Violins of Hope.

The program starts at 7 p.m. and will last about 90 minutes, including 40 minutes of music.

Members of consulates representing many countries are planning to attend, and “people are coming from all over the Greater Bay Area,” according to Naxon.

The concert is sponsored by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund with support from Julie and David Levine, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Holocaust Center.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day program is one of more than 70 local Violins of Hope events presented by dozens of Bay Area organizations through March 15, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit through concerts, exhibitions, films, lectures, community conversations and educational programs. The website is violinsofhopesfba.org.

J. The Jewish News of Northern California is a media sponsor of Violins of Hope SFBA.

Laura Pall
Laura Paull

Laura Paull is J.'s Culture Editor, and was a longtime J. freelance writer before that.