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Landmark Community-Wide Partnership Brings the Violins of Hope to Nashville in 2018

Landmark Community-Wide Partnership Brings the Violins of Hope to Nashville in 2018

More than two dozen organizations teaming up to present performances, lectures & more, along with a free exhibit of rare instruments that survived The Holocaust

 Nashville, TN – A diverse array of local organizations – including the Nashville Symphony, Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Nashville Public Library, Nashville Ballet, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Blair School of Music and other areas at Vanderbilt University and many more – today revealed plans for a collaborative effort that will bring a rare collection of instruments called the Violins of Hope to Nashville in the spring of 2018.

The Violins of Hope – the majority of which were played by Jewish musicians interned in concentration camps during the Holocaust – will arrive in Music City from Israel in mid-March 2018. Restored and refurbished by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, these instruments will be the centerpiece of a months-long initiative designed to foster a city-wide dialogue on music, art, social justice and free expression.

The instruments have previously been the subject of a best-selling book by James A. Grymes and a critically acclaimed documentary,Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust.

“Each of these instruments has a remarkable story to tell about resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable difficulty,” said Alan D. Valentine, Nashville Symphony president and CEO. “This singular collection will serve as a springboard for many of Nashville’s cultural organizations to explore the vital role that music, the arts and creativity play in all of our lives. We are thrilled to be working with so many enthusiastic partners on this historic initiative.”

“The Jewish Federation of Nashville is honored to partner with the Nashville Symphony in bringing the Violins of Hope to Nashville,” said Mark S. Freedman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. “For our Jewish community, this represents a profoundly important opportunity to let these sacred instruments provide a measure of redemption to the millions of Holocaust victims who perished simply because they were Jews. These violins should serve as a clarion call throughout our city that the words ‘Never Again’ must resonate through every one of us in our collective struggle to overcome bigotry and hatred.”

More than two dozen Nashville-area groups and organizations are involved in the project, and scores of local events – ranging from musical performances, art exhibits, lectures and more – are planned, including:

  • Author James Grymes and instrument restorer Avshi Weinstein will speak at the Southern Festival of Books (October 14, Main Public Library)
  • Vanderbilt Holocaust Lecture Series (October 24 & 28, Vanderbilt University)
  • Nashville Ballet performs Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project (February 9-11, TPAC)
  • “Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex,” photography exhibit by Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick (February 23-May 28, Frist Center for the Visual Arts)
  • Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony perform John Williams’ Three Pieces from Schindler’s List and the world premiere and live recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalot,”  with orchestra musicians performing on the Violins of Hope (March 22-24, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • Violins of Hope Exhibit – free and open to the public (March 26-May 28, Main Public Library)
  • “Voices of Hope” youth choral festival, featuring ensembles from across Tennessee (March 26, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • “We Shall Overcome: Civil Rights and the Nashville Press 1957–1968,” photography exhibit (March 30-October 7, Frist Center for the Visual Arts)
  • “Nick Cave: Feat. Nashville,” live performance by visual artist Nick Cave (April 6, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, presented by the Frist Center)
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day / Yom HaShoah Memorial Service (April 12, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • Joshua Bell performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Nashville Symphony (May 9, Schermerhorn Symphony Center)
  • A series of six concerts and lectures at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music

Many more events – including chamber concerts, movie screenings, community dialogues and more – will be announced in the months to come. 

Information on the Violins of Hope, including a regularly updated schedule of events, is available online


Violins of Hope Nashville Program Partners

Akiva School

Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt

Belcourt Theatre

Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt

Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival

Christ Church Cathedral

Congregation Micah

Fisk University and the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Humanities Tennessee


Jewish Federation & Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee

Lipscomb University

Nashville Ballet

Nashville Children’s Theatre

Nashville Film Festival

Nashville Jewish Film Festival

Nashville Repertory Theatre

Nashville Public Library

National Museum of African American Music


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt

OZ Arts Nashville

Parnassus Books

Tennessee Arts Commission

Tennessee Holocaust Commission

Tennessee State Museum

Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Lecture Series

Vox Grata Women’s Choir


The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released 28 recordings on Naxos, which have received 20 GRAMMY® nominations and 11 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. With more than 170 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reach up to 60,000children and adults each year.