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Finding Huberman. Violins Of Hope presents Joshua Bell / Nashville Public Radio

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Joshua Bell describes finding his instrument, a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin, as a "kind of love story that only happens once or twice in one's life." It's a love story that involves more than a little bit of luck, too. Bell was in London to play the 2001 BBC Proms when he stopped by a violin shop for some strings before his performance that night. The shop owners encouraged him to play the famous violin, which happened to be in the shop for that night only before being sent to Germany to be sold. "I literally just fell in love with it so quickly," Bell told us as he recounted the story. "I thought ‘this is it, this violin is not leaving my hands, it's not going to Germany, it's going to be my instrument for the rest of my life.'" He played it that night at the Royal Albert Hall in front of 7,000 people.

As incredible as Bell's acquisition of the violin is, the instrument's history is even more so. Before finding its way to Bell, the violin was missing for 50 years, having been stolen from the Carnegie Hall dressing room of owner Bronisław Huberman and only recovered after the thief's prison death-bed confession. Huberman, a Jewish Polish virtuoso, had played the violin while forming the Palestine Philharmonic (now known as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) with Jewish musicians persecuted by Nazis. It's estimated that Huberman saved nearly 1,000 people-instrumentalists and their families-from the Third Reich.

This Wednesday May 9, 2018 only, Bell with bring his violin to perform with the Nashville Symphony, continuing the Violins of Hope initiative that has encouraged a citywide dialogue about social justice, centered around restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. The Jewish Film Festival will also host a free screening of the documentary The Return of the Violin, which details the incredible story of Bell's instrument.     PHOTOS CHRIS LEE / WIKIPEDIA

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