San Francisco Opera staff partner with Violins of Hope, Strings of the Holocaust, for music series from January 16 – March 15
For eight weeks beginning January 16, 2020, the San Francisco Bay Area will play host to the Violins of Hope, a collection of string instruments once played by Jewish prisoner-musicians in World War II-era ghettos and concentration camps. What began as an idea for a two-week showcase quickly grew to an eight-week project involving 42 Bay Area organizations working together to create a series of concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, public forums, educational programs, and civic events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
The power behind this unique effort is Patricia Kristof Moy, San Francisco Opera’s French language and diction coach for the past 40 years and the executive director and producer of the Music at Kohl Mansion chamber music series in Burlingame, California. Born in Paris, Patricia is the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors who sought refuge in France, before emigrating to the United States.
“I learned at an early age that music is the accompaniment to our joys and sorrows, our failures and triumphs,” said Kristof Moy. “As a lifelong music presenter, the opportunity to bring the Violins of Hope to the Bay Area and to shepherd this magnificent gift for our community — while honoring my own heritage — is humbling beyond words.”
Three years ago, while planning future seasons at Kohl Mansion, Patricia became aware of father-son violinmakers Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein and their efforts to restore violins that had been played during the Holocaust. From this assemblage of 86 instruments, over 50 strings will come to the Bay Area to be heard again in concert.
A highlight of the Violins of Hope project was Patricia’s idea to commission composer-librettist team Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer to create a new chamber work for Music at Kohl Mansion. Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope will premiere this month featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, South African violinist Daniel Hope, and a string quartet from the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, composed of violinists Kay Stern and Dawn Harms, violist Elizabeth Prior, and cellist Emil Miland.
Learn more about this event at www.violinsofhopesfba.org