Nashville Symphony Leads Initiative to Bring Violins of Hope to Nashville

By: Jan. 03, 2018

Nashville Symphony Leads Initiative to Bring Violins of Hope to Nashville

The Nashville Symphony is leading a landmark community-wide partnership to bring the Violins of Hope to Nashville in one of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collections of events ever compiled around this rare collection of restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during The Holocaust.

Kicking off February 9-11, 2018, with Nashville Ballet's performances ofLight: The Holocaust and Humanity Project, two dozen organizations - including the Nashville Symphony, Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Library, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission and multiple houses of worship - will take part in this collaborative effort by presenting performances, lectures, exhibits and other events, highlighted by a free public exhibition at the Nashville Public Library running March 26-May 27, 2018. The sound, presence and stories of these instruments will drive the creation of public conversation, interfaith dialogue and educational activities throughout Middle Tennessee.

"Each of these instruments has a remarkable story to tell about resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable difficulty," says 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."

The Violins of Hope - the majority of which were played by Jewish musicians living in ghettos and interned in concentration camps during the Holocaust - will arrive in Music City from Israel in mid-March 2018.They have been restored and refurbished by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein. 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. The Nashville Public Library exhibit represents the first time that these instruments have been exhibited to the public completely free of charge in the U.S., and the display will be accompanied by a small-scale re-creation of the Weinstein's workshop in Tel Aviv.

"Violins of Hope Nashville 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," says Mark S. Freedman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. "These violins should serve as a clarion call that the words 'Never Again' must resonate through every one of us in our collective struggle to overcome bigotry and hatred."

Highlights of the events surrounding the Violins of Hope will include:

Nashville Ballet performs Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project (February 9-11, TPAC)

"Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex," photography exhibit byKeith 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 27, Main Public Library)

"Voices of Hope" youth choral festival, featuring ensembles from across Tennessee, presented in collaboration with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission (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 for the Visual Arts)

Holocaust Remembrance Day / Yom HaShoah Memorial Service(April 12)

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

More information, including a complete schedule of events and photos and histories of the violins, is available at

The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America's leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released 28 recordings on Naxos, which have received 24 GRAMMY® nominations and 11 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. The orchestra has also released recordings on Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and New West Records, among other labels. With more than 140 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children's concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reach up to 60,000 children and adults each year.