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Nashville Symphony to use Jewish instruments from Holocaust for recording

Staff Reports • Updated Feb 16, 2018 at 8:00 AM

NASHVILLE – The Nashville Symphony was named the recipient of an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, part of more than $25 million in grants distributed during the NEA’s first major funding announcement for 2018.

The $20,000 grant will be used to support the commission, world premiere performances and recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4, Heichalos, during the Symphony’s Aegis Sciences Classical Series concerts March 22-24 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The commission is also supported by a Creation Project Grant from Metro Arts. 

Part of the Violins of Hope Nashville initiative, Leshnoff’s work will be recorded live for future worldwide release on Naxos and will feature symphony musicians performing on instruments owned by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

“Commissioned and written specifically for these historic performances, Heichalos beautifully explores the relationship between the Jewish people and their cultural and spiritual heritage, and its premiere will only be enhanced by the use of these remarkable instruments, each of which has an incredible story,” said Alan D. Valentine, Nashville Symphony president and CEO. “We are grateful for the NEA’s support in helping us share this important piece of music, which promises to be a highlight of our season and a special addition to the Nashville Symphony’s discography.”

Praised by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism,” Leshnoff ranks as one of the most frequently performed living American composers and boasts an extensive catalog spanning symphonies, oratorios and chamber works. He will travel to Nashville to collaborate with the orchestra in its preparation for the concerts and the recording project.

 Announced in September, Violins of Hope Nashville is a community partnership spearheaded by the symphony and the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The collection of instruments – which were the subject of a bestselling book and a lauded documentary – will arrive in Nashville in March and serve as the centerpiece of a months-long initiative, with more than 25 local organizations presenting concerts, performances, exhibits, lectures and more designed to cultivate a citywide dialogue around music, art, social justice and free expression. For more information, including a comprehensive list of all upcoming events, visit violinsofhopenashville.com.

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