The Violins of Hope, visiting cities around the world, makes a seven week stop in Pittsburgh. They are both a museum exhibit and an interactive display because Violins of Hope lets musicians play on their violins for concerts and educational programs. The instruments (including over 70 violins violas, cello and bass) have a rich history that relate to the lives of their Jewish owners during World War II. Over thirty five programs by Arts Organizations in the region have already, or will present the instruments. Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Edgewood Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Duquesne and Chatham Universities, to name just a few, had opportunity to play and perform on the Violins of Hope. On this episode we hear Aron Zelkowicz, a cellist who directed over 80 programs centered around Jewish music as founder of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival. Aron tells us about his journey discovering and bringing Jewish music to Pittsburgh and elsewhere. We also hear Glenn Lewis, the Head of Music at Pittsburgh Opera talk about an upcoming event at the Bitz Opera Factory where the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists and Concertmaster Charles Stegeman present music of Ernest Bloch, Viktor Ullman, Alexander Zemlinsky and other Jewish composers of note. Four violinists who played the instruments will talk about their experience, the instruments’ stories and the music they performed. Charles Stegeman, Concertmaster for Pittsburgh Opera plays on a Violin of Hope that Shlomo Mintz performed on at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. Rachel Stegeman played on two Violins of Hope for Wheeling Symphony and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in several World Premieres and other works by or about Jewish composers. Tina Faigen had multiple opportunities to play on a Violin of Hope with Edgewood Symphony and related chamber performances. Juan Jaramillo gives his thoughts on the experience playing a Violin of Hope with the Wheeling Symphony.
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