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First Annual Lev Aronson Legacy Music Festival Announced

Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, & Others Featured at First Annual Lev Aronson Legacy Festival Week

Dallas, TX - Cellist and Conductor Brian Thornton has organized The First Annual Lev Aronson Legacy Festival Week - a series of concerts, master classes, private lessons, and lectures in memory of the cello virtuoso and Holocaust survivor Lev Aronson. The Festival will be held the week of June 10th – 15th, 2013 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and will feature special-guest cellist performers and instructors Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Melissa Kraut, Tom Landschoot, and John Sharp, Principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony.

The Festival in Dallas offers an open invitation to students and teachers of the cello to spend a week immersed in the atmosphere of Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, where Mr. Aronson taught for many years. Student participants will have the opportunity to perform in master classes, have private lessons, and attend various recitals, concerts, as well as a Gala reception.


As a young burgeoning cello soloist in Latvia during the 1930s and ‘40s, Lev Aronson, a Jew, was forced to survive in concentration camps during the German occupation of Latvia. After spending time in several concentration camps, he escaped, immigrated to America, established himself anew as a concert cellist, and eventually became a highly influential cello instructor. A recent biography by Frances Brent, entitled The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson, chronicles the influence Mr. Aronson has had on a generation of young cellists in America.

Brian Thornton is a cellist, a conductor, and an artistic collaborator. He has performed in hundreds of venues across the world, from the White House in Washington, D.C., to The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. As a teacher, Brian has taught thousands of children in the public school system through his musical outreach programs in Head Start Schools, and in 2012 was featured by CNN and Headline News. His solo CD, “Kol Nidrei and Beyond, Lev’s Story”, is centered on the vocal qualities of the cello, and features works arranged and composed by Lev Aronson, as well as by Bloch, Bruch, and Zimmerli. He teaches at C.I.M., and has begun a scholarship at S.M.U. in honor of his teacher Lev Aronson.

“Kol Nidrei and Beyond, Lev’s Story” features pianist Spencer Meyer and producer Thomas Moore. The CD includes pieces that Thornton worked on with Lev: Rachmaninov’s “Vocalize”, Bloch’s “The New Prayer”, “Kol Nidrei,” and Lev’s own works: “Hasidic Dance,” “Kinereth,” “Mi Pnei Mah,” and a new piece by Patrick Zimmerli called Sonata for Solo Cello, which is based on “Kol Nidrei”.

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