Maltz Performing Arts Center opens with Violins of Hope concert, showcases renovations to The Temple – Tifereth Israel

Violins of Hope concert at Maltz Performing Arts Center
The Cleveland Orchestra performs in the Maltz Performing Arts Center’s Silver Hall. Photos by Roger Mastroianni.

The guests who streamed into Silver Hall yesterday for the historic Violins of Hope concert encountered a stunning space—one that, like the concert itself, emerged from an extraordinary collaboration.

The grand opening of the first phase of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple – Tifereth Israel reflected a broad and passionate commitment to preserve one of Cleveland’s great architectural icons and also give it new life as a vibrant part of Case Western Reserve University.

More than six dozen individuals and foundations contributed to the project, first announced in the spring of 2010. Over the years, aspirations for the space grew, as did a collective desire to see at least some portion of the ambitious effort begun.

These energies ultimately centered on the structure’s largest performance space, Silver Hall, and the possibility of bringing some two dozen Holocaust-era instruments to Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Orchestra played these Violins of Hope Sunday as part of a months-long community project to educate, inform and inspire the greater Cleveland community.

In addition to the opening concert, the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center is hosting a series of events this afternoon and evening as part of a “Community Open House.” Starting at 1:30 p.m., the university is providing a shuttle service to the Maltz Center from two spots on campus. (Details and schedule at the end of this story).

In addition to the roughly 1,000 people who attended Sunday’s concert, many got their first glimpse of the restored space on television or live streamed via ideastream.

Capped by the golden dome that graces the Cleveland landscape, the seven-sided hall glistened from its recent renovation.

Broadcast pioneer Milton Maltz, who with his wife Tamar and family foundation committed $30 million to the project, was the first to approach the microphone as Sunday’s concert opened.

Maltz praised the partnership between Case Western Reserve and The Temple – Tifereth Israel that led to the renovation of the historic space into a performing arts center. Maltz also recounted how he first learned of the Violins of Hope project from Richard Bogomolny, chairman of the Musical Arts Association, the umbrella organization for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Milton and Tamar Maltz would later meet with Violins of Hope founder Amnon Weinstein in his Tel Aviv workshop. “Within just a few minutes, we knew that Violins of Hope would be our grand opening presentation, and here it is today,” Maltz said.

President Barbara R. Snyder and Milton Maltz at the center's opening concert.
President Barbara R. Snyder and Milton Maltz at the center’s opening concert.

Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder followed, calling Milton and Tamar the project’s “true visionaries.”

“You recognized the enormous potential of this space, and of the Violins of Hope project,” she said. “Dozens of members of our community and beyond supported both efforts, but you and your family are the catalysts.”

The family’s overall commitment came from Milton, Tamar and the Maltz Family Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. As part of the arrangement, Case Western Reserve purchased the Cleveland complex from The Temple – Tifereth Israel, whose primary congregational home has resided in Beachwood for more than four decades. As part of the arrangement, The Temple will continue to use Silver Hall for major religious observances and other events.

During her remarks, President Snyder thanked Temple Rabbi Rick Block and his board for their partnership; she also recognized Adele Silver, the widow of Rabbi Daniel Jeremy Silver. Silver Hall is named for Daniel and his father, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who played a pivotal role in the construction of the Temple, which opened in 1924. Daniel succeeded his father as the Temple’s leader; together their tenures stretched from 1917 to 1989.

Maltz Performing Arts Center interiorAt the heart of the project was a sensitive renovation of the building’s soaring sanctuary into a state-of-the-art performing arts hall. The careful work in Silver Hall preserved the space’s striking architectural and historical features, including wooden carvings, inscriptions and stained glass windows. The project incorporated an expandable stage, a suspended, 33-ton acoustical canopy, and updated seating, among many other enhancements befitting its new role.

Efforts also included a cleaning and refreshing of the building’s exterior and renovations to provide recital, reception, and sound and lighting control spaces. Hallways and common areas also were enhanced in the building.

With Phase I renovations complete, the Maltz Performing Arts Center will host performances by Case Western Reserve music faculty and students and also host signature cultural programs such as Think Forum, the university’s distinguished lecture series.

Fundraising continues for Phase II of the project, which calls for new performance spaces including a large proscenium-style theater and a black-box theater for productions and student workshops. Preliminary plans also include rehearsal studios, practice rooms, and costume and scene shops.

To learn more about the project, visit

Maltz Performing Arts Center Community Open House

Case Western Reserve University will host an open house of the new Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple – Tifereth Israel Monday, Sept. 28, from 2 to 9 p.m.

The historic building is a mix of old and new, restoration and imagination, state-of-the-art technology and rich respect for classical architecture.

The open house will include:

  • Tours taking place every 30 minutes from 2 to 6:30 p.m., beginning in the Lerner Lobby;
  • Conversation with Amnon Weinstein, founder of Violins of Hope; Avshalom Weinstein; and Joel Smirnoff, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, from 2:30 to 3 p.m. in the Koch Recital Hall;
  • Panel discussion, moderated by Pat O’Brien, of Project Management Solutions, on the building and renovation projects between Jack Kellogg and Paul Royer, both of Turner Construction, and Katie Broh and Dan Kelley, both of MGA Partners, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Koch Recital Hall;
  • Open rehearsal of the Case/University Circle Symphony Orchestra, directed by Kathleen Horvath, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Silver Hall.

During the open house, food trucks—including Wrap it Up Food Truck, Papa Nick’s Calzone Zone and Java on Wheels—will be available on site for guests.

Shuttle service for the open house begins at 1:30 p.m. with stops at Denison Hall (adjacent to Wade Commons) on East 115th Street and the Tinkham Veale University Center on Bellflower Road.