May 23, 2007 at 12:33 PM
Old violins have a story to tell. They have passed through many player's hands over the years. If they could speak in words, they would certainly tell interesting stories. Sometimes they would tell happy stories. Other times, they might tell sad stories. Still other times---stories of the unimaginable.
Amnon Weinstein collects violins which were played by prisoners in the Nazi death camps of WWII. He knows the violin's history. He knows who their owners were-- and how they met their end. He knows the music that was played on them in places like Auschwitz for the amusement of the inhuman monsters who were lining up people for the gas chambers. The Nazi's allowed only "happy" music to be played (!) at such times, and as ironic and macabre as that was, being selected to play in the orchestras for those occasions meant the musicians would stay alive for at least one more day.
Not being willing to let death have the last word, Amnon has restored these instruments and collected the stories of their owners. He researched some of the music written in the camps by prisoners, and has created a musical program to match the violins. Ultimately, it is his joy to place these instruments into the hands of young contemporary violinists for a concert of music which helps us remember, yet is actually an evening where hope overshadows sadness. In the concert,the former owners of these violins are remembered and their "voice" is heard yet again through their violins. How amazing! How meaningful! What a great reason to play the violin!
I am working to connect Amnon with a local museum of Jewish History and Culture and The Cleveland Institute of Music. I suspect the collaboration will be something extraordinary.
It will certainly be an evening of music with meaning--and without a doubt, there will be hope.
One of the portions of the concert is a recreation of Alma Rose's orchestra from Auschwitz. Din't know about the documentary. Have to look it up.
This sounds wonderful. To add to the "Bach in Auschwitz" comment, there is a book called "Alma Rose: Auschwitz," it is an biography that contains many first hand accounts of her playing there, and her experiences there before she met her unfortunate end. This is an exceptional way to showcase the fortitude of humanity, and the hope that has gotten us through terrible times. Let us know when the concert will happen, being a native Clevelander - I will certainly be there.
Why not go one step further and towards international goodwill have a concert with people from Daniel Barenboim's project to promote piece in the middle east
And yes, it's hard to forget the symbolism of the name Keshet Eilon. Given its place in the world, it's obviously getting at something and now it looks like it will do what it's supposed to beyond its borders.
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