The Connecticut School of Music in Westport, Conn., will hold a concert dedicated to murdered jeweler Yekutiel “Kuti” Zeevi on April 29 at the Unitarian Church in Westport.
Zeevi, a beloved member of the Westport community, was shot and killed in December during a robbery of his jewelry store, Y.Z. Manufacturing.
Connecticut School of Music president Kenneth Kuo, an accomplished cellist and close friend of the jeweler’s family, will honor Zeevi in collaboration with 15 other faculty members. “The concert has been choreographed so that the community can respect a man who has impacted so many people’s lives—not just by the objects he sold but also by the memories he created,” Kuo says.
Kuo describes Zeevi as an honest man who never tried to upsell his customers. “He treated me like a son,” Kuo says. “When I was growing up he’d always tell me he’d find a diamond for me whenever I planned on getting married. That happened five years ago when I proposed to my wife.”
Aside from jewelry, Zeevi also had a love for soccer and a deep respect for American music. Faculty members will play Zeevi’s favorite songs, ranging from “Hit the Road Jack,” to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which symbolizes the American dream Zeevi chased. “He came to this country from Israel with nothing on his back, but he made wealth for his family and lived the American dream,” Kuo says.
Zeevi’s wife, Nava, and their son, Neer, will also play in the concert, joining Kuo in his rendition of Mendelssohn’s “Song Without Words.”
Kuo fondly recalls the last words Zeevi said to him. “During Neer’s wedding last summer Zeevi said to me, ‘Kenny, you’re not leaving here without playing a song for us,'” Kuo says. “I didn’t know that would be the last time he would hear me play.”