Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate for Peace

Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania, now part of Romania. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.

After the war, Elie studied in Paris and later became a journalist. During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, La Nuit or, Night, which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel as Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980, he became the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is also the Founding President of the Paris-based Universal Academy of Cultures and the Chairman of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife created to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice. Elie has received more than 100 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning.
A devoted supporter of Israel, Elie Wiesel has also defended the cause of Soviet Jews, Nicaragua's Miskito Indians, Argentina's Desaparecidos, Cambodian refugees, the Kurds, victims of famine and genocide in Africa, of apartheid in South Africa, and of war in the former Yugoslavia. For more than ten years, Elie and his wife Marion have been devoted to the cause of Ethiopian-born Israeli youth through the Foundation's Beit Tzipora Centers for Study and Enrichment.

Wiesel is the author of more than forty books of fiction and non-fiction, including A Beggar in Jerusalem (Prix Medicis winner), The Testament (Prix Livre Inter winner), The Fifth Son (winner of the Grand Prize in Literature from the City of Paris), and two volumes of memoirs.
For his literary and human rights activities, he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor. In 1986, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Photograph copyright David Coventry.

Stephanie Goldberg Ansaldo

Growing up in a multi-cultural family - her American Jewish father having met her German Lutheran mother in U.S. occupied Germany - Ansaldo describes herself as the product of supreme tolerance. She was nurtured by love and respect, which led her to the moral philosophy that all human beings are precious and worthy of our compassion.

As a young girl, Ansaldo spent many delightful hours under the tutelage of her artist grandfather. Later, she served as key grip to her father and inherited his award-winning eye for photography. On their travels through Europe, he infused in his children a love of history, stories, music and culture and; drawn to the nuances and power inherent in the arts, Ansaldo embraced the possibility of art as a messenger for social justice. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL is her first documentary film.

In 1997 Ansaldo founded The Echo Foundation with Nobel Laureate for Peace Elie Wiesel as Honorary Chair. A family therapist and the president of Echo, Ansaldo has devoted her professional life to advancing humanity. Whether through education, travel, the arts or service, her vision for a just world permeates all that she touches. 

Ansaldo holds a B.S. in Child Development from Virginian Polytechnic Institute and State University, and an M.S. in Clinical Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She was awarded The Charlotte Business Journal Women in Business Achievement Award; the UNC Charlotte Alumni Award; the inaugural Bob Barret Social Justice Award; The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor; The Charlotte Observer “Heroes of Democracy” Award; and recognition as a finalist for the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award.

Catherine Auerbach

Duke University, Junior
Public Policy

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Myers Park High, Sophomore

Adara Blake

New York University, Junior
Speech-Language Pathology

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
North Mecklenburg, Sophomore

Evelyn Denham

Williams College, Senior

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
North Mecklenburg, Junior 

Scott Fisher

NC State, Junior
General Engineering

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
North Mecklenburg, Sophomore

Natasha Frosina

George Washington University, Senior
International Affairs

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Providence Day, Junior

Preston Gray

Belmont University, Junior
Audio Engineering Technology

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Butler, Sophomore

Casey Horgan

Guilford College, Junior
Environmental Studies

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Myers Park High, Junior

Margaret Love

Duke University, Junior

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
North Mecklenburg, Sophomore

Gabriela Reed

Yale University, Freshman

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
East Mecklenburg, Freshman

Harold Robins

UNC Wilmington, Sophomore

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Providence High, Junior 

Kristine Sowers

Davidson College, Junior

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Providence Day, Sophomore

Blake Templeton

UNC Chapel Hill, Junior
Psycholgy, Exercise and Sport Science

Student Ambassador, Spring 2007
Butler, Sophomore

Sarah Cline Mabus, Director of Education

Sarah Cline Mabus served as the Director of Education for IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL. A native of Durham, NC, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and English from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Prior to joining The Echo Foundation, Mabus worked at the Johns Hopkins University for over 10 years. After starting out in the books division of the JHU Press, Ms. Mabus joined the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth as a Program Coordinator. At CTY she created educational programs and field study programs for families of gifted students in grades 2 - 12. In addition, Ms. Mabus continues to do freelance editorial work for the JHU Press and individual faculty members.

Hans Diessel, Project Coordinator

Hans Diessel has spent a career in sales and marketing with Lufthansa German Airlines in Germany and in the US His last assignment before retirement brought him to Charlotte, NC, where he became a supporter of The Echo Foundation. In 2007, he joined the Footsteps Global Initiative as a chaperone for IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL. In 2008, he served as Project Manager for FOOTSTEPS IN RWANDA, and again traveled with the Footsteps Ambassadors as a chaperone. He and his wife reside in Davidson, NC. They have four children.

Bert C. Hesse, Executive Producer

Bert Hesse has more than 25 years experience running companies with multi-million dollar budgets, including Orbitron International and MedCorp of America.

Bert started his film career as Executive Producer for two feature films, Night Feeders and Cold Storage. He has overseen all aspects of film projects and has also negotiated sales and distribution contracts for his films. His last two projects were represented by one of the industry's most reputable companies, B.D. Fox. Both films were presented at The Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals in 2006. The worldwide distributions rights for Night Feeders were sold at Cannes that year. Bert has several projects planned for 2010, including Hope’s Wish and Three Winters.

Paul Barrett, Producer

Paul Barrett, production manager of Synthetic Fur, has produced the feature films Night Feeders and Cold Storage. Since helping form Indievision, Synthetic Fur’s parent company, Barrett has served as producer on all of Indievision’s video projects, including the Telly Award-winning videos The Ballad of Nellie Johnson and The Ozone Zone.

Barrett’s first taste of film came when he worked as Production Assistant on two WTVI historical dramas, Thunder in Carolina and Of Quilts and Sabres. During this period he also co-produced a short film illustrating the game Dungeons and Dragons.

Joanne Hock, Cinematographer

Joanne Hock brings more than 25 years of industry experience and is responsible for shaping Emulsion Arts’ creative reputation for innovative storytelling.

Hock has directed national and international television campaigns, written and directed screenplays, commercials and documentaries and lensed thousands of television commercials. Her work was recently recognized by the New York International Film Festival with the Gold Medal award for direction as well as the prestigious Grand Prize Award for 2005. Ms. Hock was featured as a Director/DP in the internationally acclaimed film, To See the Light, for Kodak Motion Picture Films. In addition, her screenwriting has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences as a Nicholls Fellowship finalist, and with nomination for three Emmy Awards for Emulsion’s feature-length documentary, Laugh at Us, currently airing on PBS.

Heidi Dove, Photographer

Ms. Dove has worked as a Writer, Producer, Creative Producer and Network Producer in broadcast production for over 20 years. She has worked and produced programming for PBS, The Sci Fi Channel, INSP, HGTV and DIY. Ms. Dove has worked with numerous national personalities, including Don Knotts, Jennifer O’Neill, John Schneider, Lee Greenwood, Louise Mandrell and the legendary Milton Berle. Along with her broadcast experience, Dove has produced and directed numerous documentaries and corporate videos for corporate Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Duke Energy and Wachovia Bank and Trust.

John Disher, Cinematographer/Editor

John Disher has served in almost every role in film and video production. His intimate knowledge of every aspect of production makes him an accomplished editor and storyteller. He is also a multiple Emmy Award nominee for his directing and editing work on Laugh at Us, an original Emulsion Arts documentary currently airing nationally on PBS. Most recently, Disher has served as Producer and Editor on another Emulsion documentary, Martin’s Hill, currently in post-production.

Cantor Joseph Malovany

A highly regarded tenor, Cantor Joseph Malovany has served as cantor of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue since 1973.  He began singing at the age of 7 and studied at Bilu Synagogue School in Tel Aviv. His musicality was so profound that he became director of the choir at the age of 12, and his mother sold her wedding ring to pay for a piano.

Cantor Malovany holds diplomas from the Music Academy in Tel Aviv, the Royal Academy and Trinity College of Music in England, where he is also a Fellow. He holds the Joseph Malovany Chair for Advanced Studies in Jewish Liturgical Music at the Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music, a division of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.  He is the first Jewish cantor to receive the Poland Legion of Honor and also a recipient of the Poland/UNESCO International Prize for Tolerance in 2007. He and his wife were honored in 2006 at the Israel Bonds Dinner.

Cantor Malovany is also dean of the JDC Moscow Academy of Jewish Music, which he helped establish in 1989 with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He tours extensively throughout the world, singing with major international symphony orchestras, and traditionally sings memorial prayers at Holocaust commemorations at Madison Square Garden and the US Capitol. An honorary president of the Cantorial Society of America, he is a former chairman of the board of the American Society for Jewish Music.

Fred Story, Composer

Fred Story began his broadcasting career in 1972 as a disc jockey at his hometown radio station in Erwin, Tennessee. He began composing for TV in 1982 after seizing the opportunity to write the theme for a television pilot. Story has studied composition with Ziggy Hurwitz, famous for his work with artists as diverse as Woody Herman and the London Symphony Orchestra. By 1990, the scoring work became so plentiful that Story left broadcasting to become a full-time composer. Story’s list of composer credits for television and film is lengthy. Among the many awards he has received are four Emmy Awards, three Telly Awards, nine Addy Awards, 17 Silver Microphone Awards, a New York Festivals Gold Award, and the 2007 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Award. He is also lead composer and a songwriter for the children’s television show Raggs, currently airing in countries on five continents.

Tanja Bechtler, Cello

Tanja Bechtler joined the Charlotte Symphony in 1997 after receiving her Bachelor of Music and her Master of Music at the N.C. School of the Arts and the Manhattan School of Music, respectively. Her love of music has led her to explore all kinds of styles. She has performed with storytellers, poets, a dance company and rock bands, composing her own music as well as playing contemporary music, improvising and using classical and folk pieces. Tanja has recorded various CDs: among them Without Borders, featuring original music from local composer David Crowe, as well as Shadegrown, a disc featuring Tanja and Bob, her guitarist husband. She also enjoys teaching the cello.

Paul Nitsch, Piano

Paul Nitsch is the Carolyn G. McMahon Professor of Music and Artist-in-Residence on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte, NC. He also serves as Artistic Director for the Friends of Music at Queens University of Charlotte and as Executive Director for the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival.

He has collaborated with many ensembles, including the Solaris Wind Quintet and the Cavani String Quartet, and many other chamber musicians in frequent performances of almost all of the standard piano chamber music literature during the last three decades, as well as many contemporary and commissioned works. His performances have been heard nationally on National Public Radio.

Nitsch was born in Great Bend, KS, and grew up in Boulder, CO. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in piano performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. He was awarded two Fulbright Scholarship Grants for study with Dieter Weber and Noel Flores at the Hochschule fŸr Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music with pianist Anne Epperson.

Tatiana Karpova, Violin

Violinist Tatiana Karpova came to the Charlotte Symphony in 1999. She was born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and when she arrived in Charlotte with her young son, she spoke only a smattering of English.

Karpova studied violin at the Ural State Conservatory with Vladimir Milstein. She also earned a DMA degree from the Moskow Gressin Institus of Musik, where her teacher was Holida Ahtjamoug. In 1989 Tatiana won second prize in the Oistrakh Violin Competition. She enjoys gardening and playing chamber music in her free time.

Sacha Barlow, Viola

Sacha Barlow is Assistant Principal Viola of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, a post she has held since October 2006. Barlow began music lessons at the age of three. By age 12, she had won a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England and at 18 took up a place at the University of Southern California where she was awarded the Jascha Heifetz Violin scholarship and played solo violin in the Contemporary Music Ensemble.

In September 2003, Barlow took up a Scholarship at the Banff Center for the Arts, Canada, where she uncovered her love for the viola. Successful in numerous orchestral auditions, Barlow was offered work with seven major British orchestras, playing Guest Principal Viola at the English National Opera, and the Bournemouth Symphony. She moved to the US to take up the position of Assistant Principal Viola with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

Peter deVries, Violin

Peter deVries was born in the Philippines to American missionaries and, after sporadic lessons overseas, at the age of 16 he returned with his parents to the USA where he began consistent violin studies.  After two years of remarkable progress he was accepted to the Indiana University School of Music on Scholarship.  There he completed Bachelors and Masters degrees with distinction in violin performance under Josef Gingold and James Buswell.

He has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in much of the United States including Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and New York performing with orchestras such as Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.  He has also appeared throughout Portugal with the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra (national symphony of Portugal), the Porto Classical Orchestra, and the Aveiro Filharmonia Orchestra, among others.

After a quarter century as a professional concertmaster he is taking a break from the orchestra world allow his shoulders to heal while focusing on his love for chamber music and teaching and his skills in business and fundraising. During 2 years as Director of Development at the American School in Lisbon they raised over 2 million euros toward their capital campaign before he left to join the sales management team at SnapAV in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

He is currently building both his business and his chamber music opportunities in the United States and maintains an active chamber music career in the US and Europe.