Violins of Hope
The Reading Symphony Orchestra and Jewish Federation of Reading are combining resources to present Violins of Hope, Instruments for Unity, for the first time in Pennsylvania beginning Nov. 1. The mission of Violins of Hope Reading is to promote unity and understanding in our community, utilizing instruments rescued from the Holocaust. Running through Nov. 14, the Violins of Hope Reading project includes educational programming, exhibits, concerts and more. These will be presented throughout Berks County at local school districts, colleges, cultural centers and other venues, with many events low-cost or free for the public to attend.
History of Sorrow Leads to Hope
Violins of Hope is a unique project inspired by a private collection of string instruments lovingly restored over the past two decades by master Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein. The instruments belonged to Jews who played them before and during the Holocaust while in the concentration camps. For Jews enduring utter despair and unimaginable evil during that time, music offered haven and humanity. The strains of a beloved song supplied solace, even if only for a few moments.
Although some of these musicians were silenced during the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the
instruments that Weinstein has restored. Many were donated by or purchased from survivors; some arrived through
family members and many carry Stars of David as a decoration and an identity tag declaring: “We were played by proud people.” Each instrument carries a story of tragedy, sorrow, and hope.
Deep Impact in Greater Reading, Berks, and Beyond
In an unprecedented collaboration between the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Jewish Federation of Reading, the
Violins of Hope exhibit is coming to Reading in memory of those who died in the Holocaust and as a testament to those who survived. This project is especially important in an era where generations have begun to either forget about the Holocaust or question its existence. The nonprofits’ goals are to use the history of the Holocaust and its consequences, through Violins of Hope, as a transformative opportunity to bring people together from all backgrounds. Say representatives, “We want to focus on unity by using the stories of the instruments to help promote understanding on antisemitism, racism and other divisions in our local community.” Over the two-week event period, educational programs will reach more than 4,000 students in Berks County school districts, as well as thousands of residents who attend lectures, exhibits, concerts and more.
Share the Experience
November 1-14, 2021 will offer more than 14 public school visits or virtual seminars with musicians demonstrating these historic instruments along with curator Avshi Weinstein and docents sharing the stories. The instruments will be displayed at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Alvernia University and Kutztown University. Additional events will include lectures by curator Avshi Weinstein and films with relevant themes. Look forward to a music and visual presentation by Berks Opera Company, and a chamber music performance presented by the Friends of Chamber Music. The two-week event will be highlighted by an historic Reading Symphony Orchestra concert on Nov. 13 featuring world-renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth.
For a complete listing of local events plus violin stories, local content and more, visit violinsofhopepa.org. Reserve your seats for the Reading Symphony Orchestra concert today, at ticketmaster.com. If you would like to volunteer or sponsor this vital cultural presentation, please contact the team through violinsofhopepa.org.