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PreViews & Features

Violins of Hope project creates an unprecedented coalition of Cleveland cultural institutions

by Daniel Hathaway

WeinsteinWhat may be the largest group of Cleveland cultural institutions ever to circle their wagons around a single project will come into play this fall when Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Cleveland Orchestra, Facing History and Ourselves, Ideastream, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage join together to present Violins of Hope Cleveland.

Four months of concerts, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, theatrical productions, and educational offerings will center around the extraordinary collection of violins amassed by Tel Aviv violinmaker Amnon Weinstein, instruments that managed to survive the Holocaust.

Weinstein, who emigrated from Eastern Europe to open a violin shop in Palestine in 1938, learned after World War II that some four hundred of his family members had perished under the Nazis. Later, he heard a heartfelt account from a survivor who had brought an instrument in for restoration of what the violin and its music had meant to Jews during those horrific days. In 1996 — and now recognized as one of the finest violinmakers in the world — Weinstein decided to put out a call for Holocaust-era violins. To date, he has restored nearly fifty such instruments to playing condition, a collection he dubbed “Violins of Hope.” [Read More…]

Iron Composer returns to Baldwin Wallace: a conversation with director Joe Drew

by Mike Telin

Joe-Drew-2On Friday, September 4 at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, the creativity of five composers will be tested when they have five hours to write a brand new piece of music in order to win the coveted titled of Iron Composer. Competition director Joe Drew said that this years contestants are all accomplished composers and college-level teachers whose musical styles are quite varied. “We try to select as diverse a group as possible. We are putting on a show, and it wouldn’t work if we had a group of composers who all write in similar styles, or who would all have a similar response to the stimulus of the challenge.”

What is that challenge? On Friday at 9:00 am in the Chamber Hall, the five finalists will be assigned an instrumentation and a secret musical ingredient that must be incorporated into their work. Past challenges have paired piano trio with a Monet painting, pipe organ with 19th-century music boxes, and brass trio with audience participation. After five hours, the composers must submit a score and parts for their finished piece. Their work will be performed and judged during a free public concert at 8 pm in Gamble Auditorium. Following the performance, prizes will be awarded, and the title of Iron Composer will be bestowed.

[Read More…]

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