On Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 2:00 pm, 24 guests gathered for a special concert presented in music, words, and photographs. With two acclaimed musicians and over 100 historical photographs, author Thomas Wolf presented the compelling story behind his award-winning book, The Nightingale’s Sonata.

The tale took us from the shores of the Black Sea to the Tsar’s palace to Carnegie Hall to the White House and beyond. In it, Wolf recounted the life of Lea Luboshutz, the first internationally known female violinist, her incomparable Stradivarius violin (the “Nightingale”), and her multi-generational musical family of which he is a member. Against the odds of pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and the Holocaust, this Jewish family triumphed again and again.

The fascinating narrative told their personal stories while sketching the history of classical music in the 20th century. Through the adversity they faced, family members were linked by a remarkable piece of music, César Franck’s sonata for violin and piano, performed live during the program.

Lea Luboshutz ∙ Academy of Music, Philadelphia (1945)


Composer Work Year
Ernest Chausson Poème, Op. 25 1896
César Franck Violin Sonata in A major, FWV 8 1886

About the Artists

Thomas Wolf

Thomas Wolf

Thomas Wolf has had a distinguished career as musician, educator, consultant, author, and administrator. A member of a Russian family of musicians, he began concertizing at thirteen and soloed with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age sixteen. He spent sixteen seasons as the principal flutist and company manager of his Uncle Boris Goldovsky’s touring opera company. The founder of Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, he retired as its Artistic Director in 2012 after 51 years at the helm.

Dr. Wolf has served as an Overseer of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was the founding Executive Director of the New England Foundation for the Arts. Currently, he is a principal with WolfBrown, a consulting firm he founded in 1983 to assist arts organizations, foundations, government agencies, and corporate giving programs. He, his wife, Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, and his other associates have worked throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, and Asia.

Keila Wakao

Keila Wakao

Japanese-American violinist Keila Wakao was awarded the 1st prize and the Junior Composer Award in the 2021 Menuhin International Violin Competition. She was also the 1st prize winner of the Stulberg International String Competition and was awarded the Bach prize in 2021.

Keila has performed solos and recitals throughout the United States, Japan, Germany, Singapore and the United Kingdom in venues such as the Cadogan Hall (London), Victoria Concert Hall (Singapore), Jordan Hall (Boston), Carnegie Hall (New York), and Hibiki Hall (Japan). This season, Keila will be performing with the Reading Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Lexington Symphony, and the Eugene Symphony.

Keila Wakao began playing the violin at the age of 3. At age 6, the late Mr. Joseph Silverstein accepted Keila as a student. Keila is currently an eleventh grader at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and studies with Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. She has also been receiving Kyoko Takezawa’s private instruction in Japan.

Keila plays on a 1745 fine old Italian violin by G.B Guadagnini, on generous loan from the Florian Leonhard Fellowship.

Dina Vainshtein

Dina Vainshtein

Pianist Dina Vainshtein collaborates with some of the most promising musicians of our time. Now based in Boston, she is the daughter of two pianists, and studied with Boris Berlin and Arthur Aksenov at the prestigious Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow. At the 1998 International Tchaikovsky Competition, she received the Special Prize for the Best Collaborative Pianist.

In recent concerts Ms. Vainshtein has collaborated with violinists Miriam Fried, Yura Lee, Karen Gomyo, Chad Hoopes, Caroline Goulding, Zina Schiff, Alexi Kenney, and Angelo Yu; cellists Natasha Brofsky and Amit Peled; as well as the Borromeo String Quartet.

Dina Vainshtein came to the United States in 2000 to attend the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she worked with Vivian Hornik Weilerstein and Donald Weilerstein. For nearly a decade, Vainshtein has been affiliated with the New England Conservatory and the Walnut Hill School, where she teaches chamber music.