top of page
Treatment for “The Virtuoso” by Nadine Lavi
"The Virtuoso," an original movie script by Nadine Lavi, is about her grandfather Alfred Schenker, whose love for the violin shaped him and sustained him, while he outsmarted his would-be captors in incredible life-or-death situations. Personally hunted by the Nazis in war torn Lvov, Poland due to his fame as a virtuoso violinist, he was bold, quick witted, with an unconquerable spirit which helped him to survive. However, in a tragic twist of Fate, he was not able to save the one person who mattered most.
His early days as a child prodigy of the violin, his early career, and his rise to the heights of fame in Europe, reveal a confident, brilliant, and privileged larger-than-life figure who's courage is an example for us all. Opening with a "James Bond meets musician" kind of action-packed suspense, it follows his 1938 command performance for the king and queen of Sweden, to his daring escape five years later, when he is pursued by the Nazis in Lvov, Poland.
He manages to get to a cellar, where he is hidden by a kind Polish woman and her husband. There, he records the sequence of events which led to that moment in a secret diary covering 1941-43. He recalls his early life, family memories, and musical triumphs. Trapped in the cellar with nine other people, he keeps them alive by paying for food when everyone else's money has run out - and keeps them calm, until his mad attempt to play the violin nearly leads to their discovery.
Life in the cellar - tastes, smells, and sounds of the tortures of people outside - taxes his self-control, but he takes refuge in his memories and in his music, composing a string quartet - which has never been performed (and will be heard for the first time in this film) by candlelight, and hopes to be free and to be reunited with his family once more.
When his baby daughter is brought to stay with him in the cellar for a time after his wife's capture, he experiences a betrayal when she doesn't even know him, but calls the man who has been looking after her on the outside, "Daddy."
Sacrificing everything until there is nothing left to give, 90 lbs. thinner towards the end of the war and starving, but still strong mentally, in spite of all he has lost and suffered, he is liberated. He immediately returns to the music that is his lifeblood in a remarkable concert that very same evening which ten thousand people attend leading to a solo concert career across Europe.
The incredible story of Alfred Schenker, virtuoso violinist, is celebrated in this script/film as an inspiring example of just how much the human spirit can endure and overcome.
bottom of page