Ashkenaz Foundation

Q&A with Eric Stein of Ashkenaz Foundation and Ger Mandonlin Orchestra

We will bring hundreds of Holocaust Survivors to the show for free. They’ll hear a sound that they may not have heard in decades.

The performing arts can bring us back to a time of place, and with the right audience, the experience can be electric. A piece of history is being revived by the Ger Mandolin Orchestra, harkening back to a time when the instrument had wide popular appeal across Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and North America around the turn of the 20th century.

Avner Yonai was inspired to revive this musical ensemble when he found a picture of his Grandfather’s mandolin orchestra from the Polish town of Gora Kalwaria. For many Holocaust survivors, it is a sound from their childhood, filled with living breathing memories of a bygone time.

It can be heard again at 7:30pm on Thursday Nov 7, at the George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Under the musical direction of the award-winning string instrumentalist Mike Marshall, the eleven members of the Ger Mandolin Orchestra are all accomplished musicians of a variety of musical styles, and the program revives sound both familiar and new to our ears.

One Toronto-based member, Eric Stein, is also the Artistic Director of our city’s Ashkenaz Foundation, which puts on an annual festival celebrating Jewish culture. He joins us for a Q&A to share with us his personal experience of being part of this musical project.

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