San Francisco Classical Voice Interviews Composer Jake Heggie
“You’re working on three other projects right now. Can you talk about them?”
Jake Heggie: “One is for the 72 Violins of Hope. They are violins that were played by Jews in concentration camps that were restored by a man in Israel over a period of 40 years. The first one that he opened to restore, which was given to him by the family of someone who died in Auschwitz, was full of ashes.
These violins have tremendous stories to tell about the journeys they’ve been through. They’re making their first West Coast visit, and they’ve never had a piece written for or about them to tell their stories. I was commissioned to write one for a quartet of the instruments, with the first performance scheduled for Kohl Mansion in Burlingame at the end of January — the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz — and several more to follow in the Bay Area. Sasha Cooke is the mezzo, Daniel Hope is the solo violinist.”
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Upcoming projects include a dramatic new song cycle, Intonations, by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. Written as part of the Violins for Hope project, it uses violins played by victims of the holocaust that have been restored by the father-son luthiers Ammon and Avshalom Weinstein. The cycle will be performed at Kohl Mansion in Burlingame in 2020, continuing a connection with the Bay Area which began in the singer’s childhood, when she spent extended periods here, traveling from her home in Texas to visit her grandparents.