Violins of Hope Los Angeles County

Violins of Hope Los Angeles County

Violins of Hope represents the extraordinary power of music to heal, to fight injustice and to celebrate survival. Music also brings people together, and we are proud to join with our partners to bring these instruments that were witness to history to Southern California so that we will never forget.” 

Dr. Dianne F. Harrison, President
California State University, Northridge

Message from Thor Steingraber:
Executive Director, The Soraya

Thor Steingraber

It may be music that best elevates and motivates mankind’s brightest moments. Resolute against the passage of time, music bridges generations otherwise divided by decades.

Mentioned throughout the Holy texts, musical instruments, especially the string instruments that were the violin’s predecessors, were exalted. Beginning in the Renaissance, Jewish violin players made their mark. And in the centuries since, the violin accompanied the Jewish people into exile. These prized possessions were not purveyors of music alone. They carried the collective memory of a people, and brought cultural influence throughout the globe. This was never more true than during the Holocaust.

In this spirit, the Violins of Hope collection will make the journey from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles County, in an unprecedented collaboration between The Soraya, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, four Southern California symphony orchestras, and Chair Susanne Reyto. The Soraya will present three concerts featuring the violins, with an opening concert on March 22 featuring the LA Jewish Symphony. New West Symphony, The LA Lawyers Philharmonic, and Long Beach Symphony will host the violins in concerts at their venues throughout the region, reaching audiences across Southern California. 

In addition to the Violins of Hope concerts in the spring of 2020, The Soraya will also present two of the worlds most acclaimed violinists, each who has strong connections to the violin shop in Tel Aviv. Itzkhak Perlman will open The Soraya's season on September 19, 2019. Perlman grew up in the same Tel Aviv neighborhood as the shop and visits when he returns to Israel. Pinchas Zukerman will perform with the Royal Philharmonic on January 24, 2020. Zukerman's first childhood violin came from the shop, where he too has an ongoing relationship. These concerts featuring two extraordinary musicians will highlight an entire season dedicated to Violins of Hope.

With three generations having been born since the Holocaust, how do we keep alive the memories of those who perished, and how do we continue to perpetuate the firsthand stories of those who persevered?  Each instrument of the Violins of Hope shares a common past from a dark moment in human history, but more so, each violin embodies a personal story, an immediate connection to those who once played them. Come hear the violins and see them firsthand. Experience their resonance, musical and historical alike. Regard them as powerful symbols, as emblems of perseverance, as sources of reflection, and as reminders of compassion and empathy. The violins stand as a tangible connection to our past, and their stories reach across the generations and demand of us Never Again.


Itzhak Perlman

September 19, 2019 I 7PM
Itzhak Perlman
Rohan De Silva, Piano

"On a visit to Tel Aviv, I visited the shop where Amnon Weinstein showed me one violin that had been defaced with a swastika by a German repairman in the 1930s. Something so ugly, however, could not prevent the violin from creating such beauty. I believe that the violin is a replica of the soul, and these violins more than most are powerful examples of perseverance. They once represented survival for their owners, and they symbolize the same to us today.” 

—Itzhak Perlman

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Pinchas Zukerman

January 24, 2020 | 8PM
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 
Pinchas Zukerman, Principal Guest Conductor and Violin Soloist 
Beethoven Symphony No. 7

"This traveling exhibit of instruments resurrected by the luthier Avshalom Weinsten is proof of the human spirit. I congratulate this remarkable project, and I am so proud that my dear friend is showing these works around the world. The instruments survived the Holocaust simply because they were played by the musicians who were the real survivors of the darkest time. They are the symbols of the voices that overcame the worst moment of humankind. Violins of Hope is not only a remembrance of those who played these instruments, but also an inspiration to generations beyond."

—Pinchas Zukerman

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Lindsay Deutch

March 22, 2020 | 7PM
Los Angeles Jewish Symphony
Violins of Hope
Dr. Noreen Green, Artistic Director
Lindsay Deutsch, Violin

Violins of Hope Los Angeles County will open on March 22 with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and captivating violinist Lindsay Deutsch. Deutsch will be playing one of the finest of the rescued violins, performing Schindler’s List Suite, Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem Suite, and Suite for Klezmer Band and Orchestra by Sid Robinovitch.

A violin from the Violins of Hope collection with be performed at this performance.

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Lahav Shani

March 25, 2020 | 8PM
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Lahav Shani, Conductor
Nelson Freire, Piano
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5

The Soraya will feature Tel Aviv native Lahav Shani and the Rotterdam Philharmonic on March 25, with soloist Nelson Freire. Shani acquired prominence among the world's conductors when he was chosen to succeed Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

A violin from the Violins of Hope collection with be performed at this performance.

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April 5, 2020 | 7PM
The Jerusalem Quartet

The Jerusalem Quartet will close The Soraya's leg of the series on April 5 with works by Haydn, Shostakovich, and Brahms. The group debuted in 1996 and has since carried on the string quartet tradition with their award-winning performances and recordings.

A violin from the Violins of Hope collection with be performed at this performance.

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Niv Headshot 400x300

One of the most unique opportunities for an intimate musical and educational experience with Violins of Hope will take place not in the concert hall, but in the classrooms and auditoriums of our local schools. Niv Ashkenazi, the only individual musician in North America entrusted with one of the collection’s rescued violins, will take the storied instruments “on tour” to visit local students in grades K-12 at 40 public and private schools

What does it mean for children and teens to experience the violins in their own schools? At close range, our youngest Angelenos in 40 to 50 public and private schools will hear the violins and see their unique colors and markings. They will participate in the transfer of memory from one generation to the next, listening to stories about the violins’ original owners and having the opportunity to ask questions and discuss with their peers, teachers, and musicians. These in-school sessions will culminate in a student matinee concert at The Soraya with Ashkenazi, our center’s first Artist in Residence.

Virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi has captivated audiences with his heartfelt musicianship and emotional performances. Praised for his lush sound, passionate playing, and formidable technical powers, he has made several Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center appearances, and has performed in Europe, the Middle East, and across North America. His conviction that the impact of music serves people beyond the concert stage motivates him to collaborate on projects that create a strong emotional bond with his audience.

He has worked with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Juilliard String Quartet, Cavani Quartet, and Ariel Quartet. He has been invited to perform at the Lake George Music Festival, Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop, Music Academy of the West, Keshet Eilon Summer Mastercourse in Israel, and iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates.

Niv also performs for Street Symphony, an LA-based nonprofit which places social justice at the heart of music making and serves communities disenfranchised by homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles County. Working with Street Symphony, he has connected with audiences on Skid Row, in jails, and in transitional housing and has explored using traditional western music, improvisation, and community engagement to create powerful experiences for members of these communities. He serves on the professional advisory board of Shane’s Inspiration, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to building inclusive playgrounds, and formerly served on the board of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra.

Incorporating the unique opportunities in the Violins of Hope project, The Soraya and Ashkenazi will work with educators to enhance their study of the Holocaust, World War II, Jewish culture, and genocide — with a deep dive into how the arts serve as a powerful lens through which to explore the historical significance and emotional weight of this material.


Los Angeles Times
For more than 20 years, Tel Aviv violin maker Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom have collected and restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust — instruments often lost or abandoned as their owners attempted to escape the atrocities of World War II. The instruments lived on as their owners perished.

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Beverly Hills Courier 
Four symphonic orchestras, a major heritage museum and one of Los Angeles’ leading performing arts centers will join forces in 2020 for an ambitious collaborative initiative that will bring to life the sounds of music once lost.

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