Violins of Hope

A message from Susanne Reyto, Noreen Green, and Thor Steingraber on Violins of Hope
March 23, 2020, at 1:30PM

Suspending Violins of Hope activities was heartbreaking for everyone who had come together around this extraordinary project — musicians, educators, philanthropists, elected officials, arts organizations, churches and synagogues, and the public at large. Our commitment to the principles of Violins of Hope compelled us to dedicate more than two years to prepare for this project.

The current circumstances with COVID-19 only magnify the importance of Violins of Hope. Headlines in the press and pronouncements from global leaders suggest that we have not faced a crisis this severe since World War II. In that chapter of history, as well as the current one, those violins have stood as witness to our collective strength and resiliency in the face of difficult circumstances, and when we emerge from COVID-19, those instruments will again be present to celebrate what is best in humankind. 

That is why we have been working to reschedule Violins of Hope. With the generous assistance of Avshalom Weinstein, we have identified a time period to bring the violins to Los Angeles. Along with our partner organizations, we will reschedule activities in January and February, 2021, with an Opening Night concert by Los Angeles Jewish Symphony at The Soraya on January 14, 2021. In consideration of the uncertainty we all face, we will wait to confirm the complete Violins of Hope schedule when we return to our daily lives after the COVID-19 crisis.

We are grateful for your patience and for your support. Most importantly, we hope that you are taking care of yourself.

An Update about Violins of Hope
March 13, 2020, at 7:30PM

With great disappointment I announce that Violins of Hope activities in Los Angeles have been suspended. I’m sure this is not surprising, given our collective caution surrounding COVID-19. Based on the recent decisions by LAUSD, CSUN, as well as the recommendations of public officials, I cannot foresee any of the events of the next six weeks proceeding as planned. In addition, Avshalom Weinstein must hasten his return overseas before further travel restrictions are announced.

We had already announced the cancellation of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (March 25) and Jerusalem Quartet (April 5).  We are now confirming cancellation of K-12 student matinees (March 17 and 18) as well as the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony concert led by Noreen Green and featuring soloists Lindsay Deutsch and Lynn Harrell (March 22) as well as all other activities at other venues. Refunds will be processed for all of The Soraya’s ticketholders. We will not be able to reschedule these events this year. However, we are already working with the Weinsteins to identify a future date to reschedule some of the activities.  

Violins of Hope

We are pleased to share that The Soraya’s Arts Education program along with Artist-in-Residence Niv Ashkenazi completed 30 K-12 school visits. Indeed, a new generation has successfully been introduced to the important ideas that are at the heart of Violins of Hope. Niv is the only musician in North America who possess one of the violins from the collection, and it has been an honor to work with him for the past 10 months. We ask that you support Niv by purchasing his new CD, recorded at The Soraya earlier this year, which features composers impacted by the Holocaust. You can purchase the CD here.

I also extend my personal gratitude to Honorary Chair L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin. The Controller shared this message earlier today:

“It has been a true pleasure chairing the Violins of Hope Los Angeles County Honorary Committee. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I see Violins of Hope as an opportunity to build a bridge from the past to the present through the universal language of music. While I am disappointed that the events we worked so hard to present cannot take place at this time, my greatest concern in the health and wellbeing of the greater community. And I am hopeful that, in the future, we will have the chance to bring Violins of Hope to the many thousands of people who need to hear the stories these wonderful instruments tell. They show us all that, even when times are dark, the best of humanity perseveres and, ultimately, prevails.”

I am grateful to Chair Susanne Reyto for inspiring 29 different organizations to produce or host events and concerts in the coming weeks, and I extend my sincerest gratitude for the 142 supporters who contributed to our concerts and education efforts at The Soraya.

Thor Steingraber
Executive Director

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