Sound of Charlotte Blog

Violins of Hope Bring Powerful Message to Charlotte Schoolkids

Originally Posted: April 2012

This month Charlotte has the great honor of hosting the North American premiere of an exhibit of the Violins of Hope. Twenty years ago, Israeli master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein began collecting and repairing violins that once belonged to Jewish musicians killed in the Holocaust. His aim was to restore these violins and hear them played again,  restoring the memory of the nameless millions, including the musicians and artists who were lost. Thus was born Violins of Hope.

Eighteen of these instruments are in Charlotte through April 24 on display at the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus. There are numerous events connected to the exhibit taking place throughout Charlotte, including several performances this week featuring CSO players. The project will culminate with the performance, Triumph of Hope: Violins of Hope with the Charlotte Symphony, conducted by CSO music director Christopher Warren-Green and featuring master violinists Shlomo Mintz, Cihat Askin and David Russell.

A special component of the project is a series of in-school performances given by Charlotte Symphony musicians. Two ensembles comprised of professional CSO musicians will perform 14 concerts at local middle and high schools. These programs are made possible in part by a generous donation from Eva and Robert Stark.



Students will learn about Jewish culture and the horrors of the Holocaust through the music of the era. The repertoire features a mix of traditional Jewish and Klezmer music; forbidden music considered "degenerate" by the Nazis; music composed in the concentration camps; and music that evokes survival and healing after the Holocaust. Each concert also includes narration and projected images that explore pre-World War II Jewish culture; the Third Reich's attempt to control art and culture; the role of music and musicians in the concentration camps; and how the European Jewish community refused to be silenced and perservered after the war.



 It is important that students study the Holocaust in school as a way to learn about these unbelievably horrific events from our history and to preserve the memory of those who perished as a result. Seeing a live musical performance such as this is one way to help deepen this understanding. Using this knowledge they can help prevent the repetition of similar events in the future.



With a project such as the Violins of Hope, music helps us learn, and music helps us heal.
Read more

Tagged as Amnon Weinstein, Christopher Warren-Green, Cihat Askin, CMS, Culture, David Russell, Education, History, Holocaust, Preservation, Shlomo Mintz, Violins of Hope, World Class City.

Take Action for Vibrant Arts! A Plea from the Past and the Present

Originally Posted: August 2010

On Sunday, Dennis Scholl, the Vice President for Arts for the Knight Foundation, called the Charlotte community to action. Those who love culture and this city have "taken a big step toward fostering a creative environment by making a significant investment in its arts infrastructure," he wrote in The Charlotte Observer. The new Levine Center for the Arts, which includes the Knight Theater, the new Mint Museum, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, is an extraordinary addition to the city's cultural facilities a set of architectural jewels.
Scholl congratulated us for investing in the arts infrastructure, but he challenged us to "redouble" our efforts. "You have a plethora of world-class buildings that now need to be filled with world-class programming," he wrote. (Read more:http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/08/29/1650780/now-charlotte-must-take-the-next.html#ixzz0y7f5xKTU)

The plea to fund programs as well as buildings is not new. In 1963, the then-new Music Director of the Charlotte Symphony, Richard Cormier, addressed the Charlotte Rotary Club, issuing the same challenge:
"If we are to maintain a vigorous, vital cultural life in our cities, we must think not only of buildings, but of people artists, actors, musicians, writers, performers, teachers, students, philosophers, and administrators in every area of the cultural spectrum.... The big problem, as I scarcely need tell you, is money. Money not merely for theaters, concert halls, and museum buildings, but money to develop the public in its role as patrons and appreciators of the products of an artistic civilization....We must come to accept the arts as a new community responsibility."

Nearly half a century later, we still need to hear those words. The Charlotte community must demand and support excellent culture: "fight for vibrant arts programming that engages the community and brings it inside these incredible structures to have an equally compelling cultural experience," Scholl wrote.
The Charlotte Symphony is ready to do its part. New this season, the Symphony launches KnightSounds, a set of three concerts that aim to fill the new Knight Theater with "vibrant arts programming." We challenge the community to be a part of this process. Come join us!

For more about KnightSounds, visit /concerts-tickets/knight-sounds/
Read more

Tagged as Culture, knight foundation, Levine Center for the Arts, Money.

Archives