The Violins of Hope are making their West Coast debut with a series of events running from January 16 through March 14, 2020. This collection of instruments was originally owned and played by European Jews in ghettos and Nazi death camps during WWII, and 51 of those instruments, now restored, are being featured in concerts and exhibits in eight Bay Area Counties.
Stanford Music faculty Dawn Harms, lecturer in violin, is one of the musicians who has been playing these instruments in a variety of settings, from the intimate Kohl Mansion in Burlingame to Oakland's Paramount Theater. On Saturday, February 29th, Dawn will conduct an 8 PM performance by the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, making use of more than 20 of the Violins of Hope at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco. Featured are works by lesbian composer Ethel Smyth, Mendelssohn, and Chris Brubeck.
In a recent KTVU television interview, Dawn described the experience of playing a specific instrument, one known as "Auschwitz 23": "I really feel what's it's gone through... it just sings out."