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Violins of Hope Come to Music City

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Nashville Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero fields questions from reporters ~ Violins of Hope press conference, September 12, 2017, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville (click photos to enlarge)

On Tuesday, September 12, the Nashville Symphony hosted a press conference at Schermerhorn Symphony Center to announce the city-wide collaboration effort to bring the world-famous Violins of Hope to Nashville in the spring of next year.

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, Vanderbilt University, Blair School of Music and many more – will bring this rare collection of instruments – the majority of which were played by Jewish musicians interned in concentration camps during the Holocaust – to Nashville from Israel in mid-March 2018.

Restored and refurbished by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, the Violins of Hope will be the centerpiece of a months-long initiative designed to foster a city-wide dialogue on music, art, social justice and free expression.


A brief PBS feature on the Violins of Hope from their 2015 residency at the Cleveland Orchestra


Each of these instruments has a remarkable story to tell about resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable difficulty. 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.

~ Alan D. Valentine
President and CEO
Nashville Symphony


The Violins of Hope will be on exhibit at the Nashville Downtown Main Public Library from March 26 – May 28, 2018 – this exhibit will be FREE and open to the public.


Amnon Weinstein with JHV 21, one of the violins of hope ~ photo by Debra Yasinow


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, narrated by Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody. Click here to watch this hour-long documentary here on the PBS website.


The Jewish Federation of Nashville is honored to partner with the Nashville Symphony in bringing the Violins of Hope to Nashville. 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.

~ Mark S. Freedman
Executive Director
Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation
of Nashville and Middle Tennessee


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:


  • Violins of Hope, the bestselling book by James Grymes. Grymes and instrument restorer Avshi Weinstein will speak at the Southern Festival of Books on October 14 at the Nashville Public Library

    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) BUY TICKETS HERE
  • “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) BUY TICKETS HERE
  • 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.

For detailed information on the Violins of Hope in Nashville 2018, including a regularly updated schedule of events, portraits and stories about the individual violins themselves, and much more, click here for

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


representatives from the Violins of Hope Nashville program partners pose after the press conference announcement ~ September 12, 2017, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville


  1. Walter, I can’t tell you how excited my family is that this is coming to Nashville. A few years back we picked up a violin at an antique store that may be one of these violins. Pictures were sent out at one point to find out more information, and the pictures found themselves forwarded to Mr. Weinstein who was kind enough to reply to our query, responding that it was possible. It is currently unrestored and in pretty poor condition. I guess my question is: while this exhibit is in Nashville, is there anyone knowledgeable who could take a look at this violin and tell us if it is indeed a Violin of Hope or not. If it has historical significance, we would like to have it restored. Thank you–Holly

  2. […] connection with the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope initiative, this concert will feature the music of composers whose lives were directly impacted by […]

  3. […] of students to lead the way toward a better world. ~ Dr. Tamara Freeman Related articles: Violins of Hope Come to Music City The 2017 Schermerhorn Invitational Choral […]

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