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Maltz Performing Arts Center/Violins of Hope

Temple Tifereth Israel

Cleveland, Ohio


Silver Concert Hall Renovation

Milton & Tamar Maltz Performing Arts CtrBuilt in 1923, the Temple Tifereth Israel is breathing new life as Case Western Reserve University’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center.

The temple – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – underwent a major renovation that included careful cleaning and restoration. With a goal to maintain historical significance and beauty, the space also needed to be transformed to use for concerts and performances, while continuing to serve as a space for worship several times a year.

In the main performance space – Silver Hall – the stage was reimagined and rebuilt to contain three sections: two stage lifts and a set of manual platforms. When fully set up, it can hold a full orchestra of 100 musicians to accommodate large symphonies.

MGA Architects called on Steve Rust – Senior Consultant for Theatre Projects Consultants and Lighting Designer for the center’s renovation – to bring light into the space, which brightened and exposed beautiful stonework details.

The arts center chose to go with an all-LED performance and architectural lighting system, to save energy, utility and maintenance costs, while keeping the on-stage performers comfortable. It also requires fewer circuits to power. It was imperative that the supplied lighting equipment operate quietly, to allow for solemn meditation and reflection during holy services.

Working closely with Rust, Dave Lupica from Zenith Electrical Systems and Susan Kirkhope of Case, the Vincent Lighting team supplied, hung and focused over 100 ETC LED Selador Studio Tungsten downlights on the new acoustical canopy and 48 ETC LED Series 2 Lustr profile ellipsoidals on the Front of House position to light the performance area. All of the fixtures are controlled by a Strand C21 Power Rack and a Strand NEO console.


Violins of Hope Concert

The unveiling of the restored and reimagined arts center was marked by a very special concert, where the instruments were the star of the show. Nineteen violins that were once played by Jews imprisoned during the Nazi Holocaust, were painstakingly restored by Amnon Weinstein and lovingly named the Violins of Hope. These instruments were played by members of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, with special guest Violinist Shlomo Mintz.

A live broadcast of the concert was produced by ideastream and televised on Cleveland’s PBS station, WVIZ, as well as streamed through the web. Recording the concert for broadcast posed a challenge, in that it was a daytime function, with natural daylight streaming through the stained glass windows. The natural ambient light created a problem with the balance needed for a video shoot. To provide appropriate lighting that would look great through the camera lens – and to give the inaugural event sparkle – Case called upon the VLS Production team to supply additional lighting for this special concert.

Using Consultant Steve Rust’s general light plot and VLS’ newly-installed lighting system, Chris Shick tweaked the focus to set appropriate levels for video. Our team draped the stained glass windows to control outside daylight, then backlit the windows, using ETC ColorSource PARS, to mimic the daylight effect. This allowed control over the light levels and provided the appropriate color balance to allow the concert to look just as fantastic on video as it would in person.

To give dimension to the stage and highlight the beautiful architecture, we supplied (48) Clay Paky Glow-Up fixtures, set with a royal blue hue, to honor the Holocaust victims. Shick commented, “We chose the Glow-Up fixtures, because they could be controlled wirelessly, without the constraints of running control cable. This saved time, but also provided a level of safety for the guests, without having to run cable across aisles.”

Battery-operated Fuel Lights were added to highlight signage for the event. Before the concert began, our production crew used Clay Paky Sharpy Spot lights to pan across the beautiful dome inside, which produced a glamorous Hollywood grand opening effect. The Cleveland Orchestra played a beautiful and memorable concert, which was a fitting tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and gave respect to the beautifully-restored instruments and the Maltz Performing Arts Center.


About Maltz Performing Arts Center/Violins of Hope


Owner: Case Western Reserve University

Architect: MGA Partners Architects

Theatre Consultant: Theatre Projects Consultants

Electrical Contractor: Zenith Systems LLC

VLS Team

  • Project Management: Lance Switzer
  • Video Lighting Director: Chris Shick
  • Board Operator: Ben Starett
Photo © Roger Mastroianni. Used with permission.
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