Academy Award-nominated documentary Joe’s Violin to be screened

Violin performance and Q&A follows

Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan

Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan

The Academy Award-nominated documentary short Joe’s Violin will be screened on Saturday, June 10, from 1-3 p.m., in the Cole Auditorium. Joe’s Violin tells a story of how a donated instrument forged a bond between a Holocaust survivor and a school girl (Brianna Perez) from the Bronx. The film displays the affirming power of music, hope, and love.

A Q&A session with the film’s subjects, including Greenwich native Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan and Brianna Perez, will follow the screening. The program will close with a performance by a quartet composed of three violins and a cello, with violinists Tanaka-Suwan, Perez, student Nya Paulino (playing the donated violin) and cello teacher Eva Dines.

Tanaka-Suwan, who grew up in Cos Cob, played herself in the film. She’s a professional violinist, holds a master of music education from Columbia University Teachers College and a PhD in musical arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Currently she is the music director at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls (BGLG), the school chosen by the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to receive the donated violin of Holocaust survivor Joseph Feingold.  

Two years ago Tanaka-Suwan and the Institute chose 12 year old student Brianna Perez to play Joseph’s instrument. Joseph and Brianna developed a close bond. The violin remains at BGLG where current eighth grader Nya Paulino is the second recipient. Each year one worthy student is chosen to play Joseph’s instrument.

Recognized at over 50 different film festivals, Director/Producer Kahane Cooperman (Former Executive Producer of the Daily Show) and Producer Raphaela Neihausen (Founder of DOC NYC) brought this touching story to life. For more information, visit

This event is open to all at no charge and is made possible through the support of the Board of Trustees of Greenwich Library and generous donors. A reception will follow the performance. For more information contact Junko Tanaka at [email protected] or call 203-622-7996.

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