Article by The Jerusalem Post
18 April 2018

Not everyone who came to the Notes of Hope concert that was co-sponsored by Jewish National Fund UK and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, realized what the event at the International Convention Center Jerusalem was about. One woman overheard enthusing afterwards on her cell phone, said that she had thought that she was coming to a regular Holocaust Memorial event and had been completely surprised by what she saw and heard.

The concert included 11 works, played for the first time in the presence of a concert hall audience. The compositions, from amongst more than 8,000 unknown works by victims of the Holocaust, were selected by Professor Francesco Lotoro, an Italian pianist, composer and musicologist, who together with his wife Grazia, has made it his life’s work to search for and orchestrate music composed in the camps and in the ghettos, but undiscovered for decades and never played for an outside audience.

The compositions were proof that even in the most dire of circumstances, the composers did not give in to despair and left their notes of hope as a legacy for the future.

The works ranged from classic to jaunty cabaret, included a little Yiddish, a plaintive Romani song, because there were also gypsies in the camps, and even a latter-day composition – “Lu Yehi” (May it Be) by Naomi Shemer, reminiscent of The Beatles’ hit “Let it Be.” Sung by Shiri Maimon, it symbolized the prayers and yearnings of all those unfulfilled musical talents lost in the Holocaust.

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