The Cleveland Women's Orchestra Remembers the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz

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WCLV 104.9 ideastream® broadcast a Cleveland Women’s Orchestra concert from the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre at the Idea Center® at Playhouse Square Monday, November 2 at 8 p.m. WCLV’s Robert Conrad served as commentator for the live program.  This concert was part of Violins of Hope Cleveland, an unprecedented collaboration that includes concerts, lectures, educational offerings and other events to honor a people’s perseverance in the face of incomprehensible darkness. 

Played before and during the Holocaust, the Violins of Hope instruments have been painstakingly restored by Amnon Weinstein, a second-generation violin-maker, and serve as testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music to lift hearts in even the most horrific of circumstances.

“In broadcasting this extraordinary Violins of Hope concert, we are pleased to showcase one of Northeast Ohio’s great treasures, the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra,” said WCLV Station Manager Jenny Northern. “And we are honored to have Hedy Milgrom, a Cleveland Women’s Orchestra member, play one of the restored violins here at the Idea Center and share personal reflections about the impact of the Holocaust on her family.”

Under the direction of Robert Cronquist, Cleveland Women’s Orchestra Music director, the orchestra performed Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in b minor, D.759 (‘Unfinished’); Hungarian Dance No. 1 by Johannes Brahms; and On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314 by Johann Strauss, Jr. The orchestra was joined by soprano Dorota Sobieska for "Marietta’s Lied" from Die tote Stadt by Erich Korngold and "In mir klingt ein Lied," based on Chopin’s Etude Op.10 No.3, in E Major.

“It is worth noting that the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, founded in 1935, was playing for Cleveland audiences at the same time the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz was playing for those who suffered and perished in the Holocaust,” added Cronquist. “For a few years now, we’ve contemplated presenting a concert in tribute to those resilient women, and now, thanks to support from the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, we are able to do so as a part of the Violins of Hope Cleveland project.”

The organizations partnering on Violins of Hope Cleveland—which includes performances, educational programs and a major exhibition—are The Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Facing History and Ourselves, ideastream, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

For more information about Violins of Hope Cleveland, go to ideastream.org/violinsofhope.

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