During January and February 2023, Avshalom Weinstein, a Violins of Hope founder, and musicians will tour East Bay middle and high schools, as well as other organizations, with the Violins of Hope. This life-changing educational program will reach tens of thousands of students and adults and emphasize messages of hope, tolerance, and resilience through music, bringing the violins’ stories alive.
January 31 –
February 17, 2023
Free educational concerts coming to your schools!
Violins of Hope is a collection of restored violins that were played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. These instruments have survived concentration camps, ghettos, pogroms, and many long journeys to tell remarkable stories of injustice, suffering, resilience, and survival.
And now the music of violins comes alive again at free educational concerts during the daytime at middle schools and high schools in East Bay's Tri-Valley region. Assembly-type concerts performed at the schools by Jewish Klezmer group Veretski Pass with special performances by violinist Cookie Segelstein and on accordian Joshua Horowitz. Avshi Weinstein, co-founder of Violins of Hope, will also provide stories for several of the instruments. A free teacher's guide is available for teachers to supplement their student's Holocaust education and the Violins' visit to their schools. Special thanks to University of North Carolina Charlotte for sharing their comprehensive teacher's guide with the East Bay.
Avshalom Weinstein , Co-Founder, Violins of Hope
Avshalom Weinstein, began working with his father Amnon in 1998 as a violin-maker and restorer of violins, violas, and cellos of the highest level. Avshalom is trained in the tradition of the Italian Cremonese School of violin-makers and the French school of restoration. Avshalom opened his own workshop in Istanbul in 2009, where he continues the family tradition.
Both his father and he have located the violins that were played by Jews in the camps and ghettos, painstakingly piecing them back together so they could be brought to life again on the concert stage. Although most of the musicians who originally played the instruments were silenced by the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the violins that Amnon has lovingly restored Violins of Hope.
Since 2006, these restored instruments have been exhibited and played by leading orchestras and music festivals in Europe and America. Besides concerts, a strong component of the project is to exhibit the violins and bring them to schools and other organizations to experience these amazing instruments and their stories.
Cookie Segelstein, Featured Violinist
Cookie (Marlene) Segelstein received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Missouri in 1981, and a Master’s Degree in Viola from Yale University in 1984 where she studied with Raphael Hillyer (founding member of the Julliard String Quartet) and the late Jesse Levine. She played under the great Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood, and studied chamber music with Eugene Lehner of the Kolisch Quartet. In 1984, Cookie joined the New Haven Symphony where she became Assistant Principal Violist in 1991, a position she held until moving to California in 2010. In the spring of 2010, she performed a piece commissioned for her by the orchestra and written by composer Mark Kuss, “Viola Concertino”. Cookie has toured the world with her trio Veretski Pass that specializes in the 19th and 20th Century Jewish instrumental folk music of the Carpathian mountains. They played to a sold out audience at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and regularly tour Germany, Austria and Switzerland, playing concerts and teaching workshops. She recorded the violin music for the Jewish wedding episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City”, has recorded many CD’s as an expert on Jewish violin style, and written many music books of historical transcriptions. On the board of the San Francisco chapter of American String Teachers Association, and a member of MTAC (Music Teacher’s Association of California), Cookie teaches violin and viola students of all ages and levels in both folk and Classical styles.
Joshua Horowitz, Featured Accordian
Joshua Horowitz, chromatic button accordion, cimbalom and piano, received his Masters degree in Composition and Music Theory from the Academy of Music in Graz, Austria, where he taught Music Theory and served as Research Fellow and Director of the Yiddish Music Research Project for eight years.
He is the founder and director of the ensemble Budowitz, a founding member of Veretski Pass and has performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman, The Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Theodore Bikel, Ben Goldberg, Rubin and Horowitz, Brave Old World, Adrienne Cooper and Ruth Yaakov. His music was recently featured in the British film, “Some of my best friends are... Jewish / Muslim”, awarded the Sandford St. Martin Trust Religious Broadcasting Award and is also featured in the new film by Jes Benstock, "The Holocaust Tourist".
His recordings with Veretski Pass, Budowitz, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Rubin & Horowitz and Alicia Svigals, have achieved international recognition and he is the recipient of more than 40 awards for his work as both composer and performer.