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Biographies

Amnon Weinstein

amnon weinsteinInternationally acclaimed Israeli Master Violin-maker Amnon Weinstein is involved in initiating and promoting concerts and educational projects concerning violins around the world. He works with orchestras and artists both in Israel and abroad.

He received the Medal of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, signed by the President and handed to him by Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a ceremony held in the Jewish Museum in Berlin on Dec. 14th, 2016. He also received the Ernst-Cramer-Medal for Violins of Hope project awarded him by the Israel-German association (Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschhaft e.V.)

Weinstein, a viola and trumpet player, first learned his violin-making craft in childhood with his father. He studied for three years in Cremona, Italy, with the most renowned teachers in that era such as Pietro Sgarabotto, Giuseppe Ornati and Ferdinando Garimberti, as well as Etienne Vatelot in Paris.

He won a gold medal and a Certificate of Excellence for violin-sound at Salt Lake City in 1982. He is a member of Entente International des Maitre Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art and Bienfaiteur de Groupement des Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art de France, and was a member of the Violin Society of America. He served as a judge in the violinmakers’ competition in Salt-Lake City in 1998 and served as a judge in the Etienne Vatelot Concours, Paris 2004. He was also awarded the prestigious Ole Bull Prize, Bergen, Norway, 2007. As one of the founders of Keshet Eilon violin master courses, he operated a violin-making atelier and lectured on instruments’ history, construction, and care.

Born in Palestine, 1938, to a violinist and pianist from Vilna, he is a second generation violinmaker, Amnon works to this day in Tel Aviv with his son, Avshalom. He is involved in many musical projects such as Violins of Hope, dedicated to the collection and reconstruction of violins which were owned by Jews and survived World War 2. Many of the instruments which belonged to klezmers are decorated with the Star of David and others were owned by violinists who played during the war (in concentration camps and ghettos.)

Violins of Hope collection now consists of over 70 instruments, each with a story and history. The instruments were used in concerts in Jerusalem, Istanbul, Paris, London, Sion (Switzerland), Charlotte, North Carolina and Cleveland, where they were exhibited and played in synagogues, churches, universities and symphony concert halls.

In the past few years, Violins of Hope projects, including concerts (and often exhibitions) were held in Monte Carlo (2013), Rome (2014). Cristal Nacht concerts were held in Germany (November 2014) as well as a gala concert and exhibition in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate 70 years to the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp and the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Gala and educational concerts were held in Cleveland, and a national TV broadcast on CBS channel on December 6, 2015.

Amnon Weinstein is the protagonist of films including Le Voyage d’ Amnon, Violins in War Time and a documentary about Bronislav Hubermann and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: Orchestra in Exile

Avshalom Weinstein

avshalom weinsteinThird-generation Israeli violin maker Avshalom (Avshi) Weinstein, was trained by his father, master violin-maker Amnon Weinstein. He began working with his father in their Tel Aviv atelier in 1998 as a violin-maker and restorer of violins, violas and cellos of the highest level.

He is trained in the tradition of the Italian Cremonese School of violin-makers and the French school of restoration. Since 1988, Avshi has joined his father in the Keshet Eilon Violin- and Bow-making atelier at Keshet Eilon Master Class for young violinists each summer. He was invited to join the CAKA Program (Cihat Askin and Kucuk Arkadaslari) in Turkey in 2006, and has been working on CAKA courses since then. Avshi opened his own workshop in Istanbul in 2009, where he continues the family tradition. Additionally, he has also been training with Master Bow-Maker Daniel Schmidt from Dresden in bow repairs since 2009.

Avshalom is the founder of Violin of Hope project together with his father. Violins of Hope refers to the Weinsteins’ collection of instruments with unique stories dating back to Jewish musical tradition and World War II. Both Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein collect these instruments and restore them with love and attention and bring them back to life as concert instruments.

Since 2006, Violins of Hope has been invited to participate in leading orchestras and music festivals in Europe and America, among which were The Berliner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Symphony, and many others. The project also includes chamber music concerts as well as educational programs, lectures, exhibitions of instruments, and their histories.

Dr. James A. Grymes

James GrymesDr. James A. Grymes is an internationally respected musicologist, a critically acclaimed author, and a dynamic speaker who has addressed audiences at significant public venues such as the United Nations Headquarters, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, and the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Grymes has been featured in interviews by The New York Times, ABC News, and CNN, and has written essays for the Huffington Post and the Israeli music magazine Opus.

He is the author of Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour (Harper Perennial, 2014). A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life. The book, which composer John Williams described as “one of the most moving chronicles in the history of Western music,” presents a new way of understanding the Holocaust and is the winner of a National Jewish Book Award. Dr. Grymes is Professor of Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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