On Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m. Classical 91.5 will host a special free screening of Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue, Rochester). The screening also includes the award-winning short film, Joe's Violin.
Violins of Hope follows the journey of Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein in his efforts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust, and captures the lessons and highlights the music the instruments now bring to others. It will be preceded by the half-hour documentary, Joe's Violin, which tells the story of how a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez, showing how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times and how a small act can have a great impact.
More about Violins of Hope:
For Jews during the Holocaust, there wasn't much reprieve from the despair and horror surrounding them, but music— particularly that of violins, which hold an important role in Jewish culture—offered temporary solace and a glimmer of humanity. Violinists in concentration camps were sometimes treated better and even spared their lives because of their ability to play this important instrument.
Narrated by Adrien Brody ("The Pianist" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel"), these special artifacts from the Holocaust, which Weinstein has dubbed the "Violins of Hope," include instruments that were played by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps and others that belonged to the Klezmer musical culture. Violins of Hopechronicles the journey of the instruments from Weinstein's small workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he has worked for two decades to repair the violins to Cleveland, where they were brought in 2015. During this U.S. visit, the violins were on display for the community as part of a traveling exhibit, used as teaching tools in classrooms, and played by music students and orchestras. The winner for "Best Documentary" at the 2016 Vienna Independent Film Festival, the film captures the powerful sights, sounds, reflections and conversations brought about by those who were touched by these violins. The documentary culminates in a concert by The Cleveland Orchestra featuring the violins of hope at the opening of Silver Hall in the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center, a former Jewish temple that was lovingly restored and given a new life— just like the violins. Violins of Hope will also air on WXXI-TV on Monday, April 24 at 9 p.m.
More about Joe's Violin:
Joe's Violin has been a labor of love for the past year, ever since director/producer Kahane heard a promo for WQXR's instrument drive on her car radio. She was inspired to follow the journey of a single violin donated by a 91-year old Holocaust survivor, named Joseph ("Joe") Feingold. Over the past months, a beautiful story has been unfolding. Joe's violin found a home at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls (BGLIG), a charter school in the poorest congressional district in the country, where every student learns to play string instruments starting in kindergarten. BGLIG's devoted principal and string teachers chose 12-year old Brianna to play Joe's violin for the duration of her time at BGLIG. Playing the violin has often helped her through many life challenges. Brianna is currently learning a poignant song that Joseph's mother sang to him before the war. This June, when Brianna and Joe meet for the first time, she will play this deeply meaningful song on the very same violin that has brought Joseph so much comfort and joy for the past 70 years. Thus, Joe's violin will forever connect these two people whose paths would have never crossed were it not for a simple act of generosity.
More about Classical 91.5 Presents...
Selected by our Classical music hosts Julia Figueras, Brenda Tremblay and Mona Seghatoleslami, each film chosen exemplifies the power of music in a non-traditional narrative. Find out more information about Classical 91.5 Presents, including upcoming films, on The Little Theatre website.