Home Culture Arts & Entertainment Violins of Hope make Canadian debut in Montreal

Violins of Hope make Canadian debut in Montreal

Israeli master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein is dedicated to restoring instruments whose Jewish owners survived the Holocaust.

A concert featuring string instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians and miraculously survived the Holocaust, will be performed by the Orchestre Métropolitain at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on Nov. 2.

This is the first time the Violins of Hope will be played in Canada. The concert is being presented by the Montreal Holocaust Museum (MHM) and is under the direction of Dutch conductor Vincent De Kort.

The Violins of Hope is a collection of more than 70 string instruments that were restored by Israeli master luthier Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom Weinstein. The violins were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust, and have survived pogroms, concentration camps and the passage of time.

Eight of these precious instruments will be played at the Montreal concert. “They now represent stories of injustice, suffering, resilience and survival,” said MHM spokesperson Sarah Fogg.

“My mission is to get hold of any violin that has been rescued from the Holocaust, to repair it and to make it into a concert violin,” said the elder Weinstein. “I want these violins to be played, to have their voices heard and have their say, because these violins have a very particular sound: voices, weeping, laughter and prayers escape.”

The 7:30 p.m. concert will be both a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian Armed Forces. Between Oct. 2 and Nov. 8, 1944, the First Canadian Army fought the Nazi army installed on the banks of the Scheldt River, eventually liberating the port of Antwerp and saving the lives of thousands of Dutch citizens.

Access to the port was essential for supplying the Allies and enabling their advance to defeat Hitler’s forces and liberate Europe.

The program includes works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Gustav Mahler and Jocelyn Morlock, as well as the premiere of “Children’s War Diaries” by Canadian composer Jaap Nico Hamburger, this year’s Mécénat Musica composer in residence.

The work was inspired by a compilation of diaries of teenagers who were murdered during the war, as well as a visit to the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Cantorial music in honour of Holocaust victims will be performed by soprano Sharon Azrieli and tenor Gideon Zelermyer, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim’s cantor.


For tickets, phone the Place des Arts box office at 514-842-2112, or 1-866-842-2112