"The Lev Aronson Project" by Brian Thornton

Lev Aronson Brian Thornton

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Jonsson Performance Hall
Admission: Free
Season: 2013-14

Please join us for a free presentation and concert celebrating the life and music of Lev Aronson. Mr. Aronson was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Dallas where he became principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony and a renowned teacher. This project is conceived and performed by one of his students, Brian Thornton, who now plays for the Cleveland Orchestra.


Brian Thornton has played cello for the Cleveland Orchestra for more than 19 years. 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 teenager in Dallas, Thornton studied cello with Lev Aronson, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who was then principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony.  Thornton’s solo CD: Kol Nidrei and Beyond, Lev's Story, is centered on the vocal qualities of the cello, and is dedicated to the memory of his teacher.


In pre-war Berlin, Lev Aronson had been a pupil of the legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.  He was recognized as a rising star of Eastern European classical music, but his career was tragically interrupted when German forces invaded and occupied Riga in June, 1941. His cello was confiscated by the Nazis, and he became a prisoner in a forced labor gang. A survivor of four years in Nazi camps, Aronson was captured at the end of the war by his Russian liberators who accused him of being a spy, but was able to escape to the American zone of Berlin in July, 1946.  With the help of Piatigorsky, Aronson immigrated to the U.S. in 1948.


In honor of his teacher, Thornton has founded the Lev Aronson Legacy Festival, a week of master classes and concerts, about to commence its second season at Southern Methodist University from June 9 – 14, 2014.  According to Thornton, Aronson became the most famous cello teacher of his time, producing a school of cellists who are the best in the classical field. Yet Aronson still felt he was a failure. “I felt that if I didn’t bring back some of this, he would have failed a second time,” Thornton says “He would have been lost twice.”


Brian Thornton’s performance at UT Dallas on June 5, will combine the story of Lev Aronson's life with the music he wrote and arranged.



For more information contact:
The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies
[email protected]

UT Dallas students, staff and faculty may receive a free ticket to any ticketed A&H event by presenting their Comet Card at the Box Office on the night of the performance. See tickets for more information.

Persons with disabilities may submit a request for accommodations to participate in this event at UT Dallas' ADA website. You may also call (972) 883-2982 for assistance or send an email to [email protected]. All requests should be received no later than 2 business days prior to the event.

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