Music of the Holocaust Seminar

In the Spring 2022 semester, a group of students from the Arts + Architecture Honors Program; Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies; and the Department of Music participated in an interdisciplinary seminar on Music of the Holocaust, led by musicology professor James A. Grymes. Throughout the semester, the students collaborated to learn about the lives of musicians during the Holocaust, and the music they composed and performed.
At the same time, the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, in partnership with community and educational partners, performed the East Coast premiere of Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope, a dramatic song cycle by librettist Gene Scheer and composer Jake Heggie that is based, in part, on Dr. Grymes's book Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour. The work was performed on April 26, 2022, at the Community Yom HaShoah Commemoration at Queens University of Charlotte and again on April 28 in the Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall. 

performance by orchestra on stage
April 2022 also marks the tenth anniversary of when UNC Charlotte led a collaboration among organizations across the Charlotte community to present the North American premiere of Violins of Hope, a collection of violins that belonged to Jews before and during the Holocaust. The extensive series of exhibitions, performances, and related programs gained international attention. In the decade that has followed, more than 20 cities across the United States and Europe have hosted these remarkable instruments. Five of the Violins of Hope returned to Charlotte for the concerts on April 26 and 28.

Violins of Hope on Display
To commemorate the East Coast premiere of Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope, the students in the Music of the Holocaust Seminar designed and built a work of installation art that was displayed in front of Robinson Hall. Each of the six songs from Intonations is represented by a three-sided pillar, referencing the triangular patches worn by prisoners in Nazi camps. The pillars are placed in a circle, pointing outward to represent the six points of a Star of David. Backlit panels represent candles, an important signifier of hope.
installation outside Robinson Hall