Watch the trailer for the film The Rifleman's Violin
As a 19-year old army rifleman in World War II, Stuart Canin once played violin for Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin at the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Now in his 90s, the former concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony often says he has never been as nervous in front of an audience as he was on that day. In November 2014, Canin re-created the 1945 concert to a sell-out crowd at Stanford’s Bing Auditorium, and now Stuart Canin’s story is the subject of a new short documentary titled the “The Rifleman’s Violin,” which premiered last month at Lincoln Center in New York City. The film, produced by Citizen Film and the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, explores a remarkable moment in history as World War II drew to a close, on the precipice of the Cold War.
This month, Stuart Canin’s fascinating story is celebrated in the Bay Area with several media events. On February 8th, radio host Michael Krasny of KQED interviewed Canin, filmmaker Sam Ball of Citizen Film, and historian Scott Sagan about the Potsdam Revisited performance, the making of The Rifleman’s Violin, and the significance of the 1945 conference. Listeners can stream the interview through the KQED Forum website.
On February 18th, the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay will host the Potsdam Revisited program, including a screening of the film, a live violin performance by Stuart Canin, and a subsequent discussion with Canin and Sam Ball of Citizen Film. The program will also be held at the Alamo Drafthouse San Francisco on February 27th.
Visit www.potsdamrevisited.org to learn more about Stuart Canin, the Potsdam Conference, and the WWII-era archives held at Hoover Institution Library & Archives. The trailer for The Rifleman’s Violin is also available online.