orchestra of exilesOn Sunday, April 14, 10:00 p.m. MST), PBS premieres an awe-inspiring film from Academy Award-nominated director Josh Aronson.

Aronson’s latest documentary,“Orchestra of Exiles,” tells the dramatic story of Bronislaw Huberman, the celebrated Polish violinist who rescued some of the world’s greatest musicians from Nazi Germany, then created one of the world’s greatest orchestras, the Palestine Philharmonic (which would become the Israeli Philharmonic). The film follows Masterpiece Theater.

Josh Aronson is a long-time, part-time Telluride local and a full-time Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker. A survey of his filmography suggests the man is drawn to disparate subject matter, whatever shining object happens to catch his attention at the time. But scratch the surface and Josh’s movies have one very telling thing in common: they are all about outsiders, people who live on the fringe and break the rules – and sometimes their backs.

One film focuses on deaf children whose families chose implants, a hot button decision in that insular community (Oscar-nominated “The Sound and The Fury,” 2001).

“Bullrider” is a testosterone-laced drama about the manliest of men (no quiche please) whose day job is jumping on thousands of pounds of  lean and mean. The film takes us to the heart of  the 2004 PBR finals in Las Vegas.

“Beautiful Daughters,” 2006, focuses on the lives of three transsexual women. The film also provides an inside look at the first all-transsexual production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” performed in L.A. with a cast of 30 transwomen from across America.

In the end, Josh’s nonconformists are all winners, Huberman among them.

The unfolding drama of Huberman’s life is riveting and his fascinating story touches many of the major themes of the 20th century. During the darkest days of a Europe being wrested apart by anti-Semitism and Nazi aggression, Huberman’s extraordinary efforts saved hundreds of Jewish families from the approaching holocaust, his achievements changing the landscape of cultural history.

Before the Nazis came to power the Polish violin prodigy was focused only on building his own monumental career as a fiery, wildly popular performer. Understanding Hitler’s agenda, however, became a call to action that he could not ignore. Huberman’s personal transformation and subsequent heroic struggle to get Jewish musicians out of Europe to found an orchestra is the heart of the film that had Aronson’s Telluride audience, treated to a sneak peek last June, on the edge of our seats. “Orchestra of Exiles” is a thriller, and like “Argo,” all the more of a nail-biter because the storyline is improbable – and true.

“Richly researched and partly told by some of today’s top-flight musicians, ‘Orchestra of Exiles’ aspires to a level of primary research that other historical documentaries could take a page from. It demonstrates the very concrete way in which culture is preserved and maintained, with transmission and human survival becoming intertwined realities,” raved The New York Times

What happens in Telluride does not stay in Telluride. “Orchestra of Exiles” predictably went on to great success.

The documentary’s theatrical openings in New York and Los Angeles (Fall, 2012) were timed to overlap the recent Israel Philharmonic tour across America. In both cities, audience enthusiasm and attendance assured an extended run.

Subsequent screenings in theaters, universities and festivals across the country met with equal enthusiasm.

The film officially premiered in Germany at the Berlin Jewish Museum November 22, 2012. One week later, Josh did a benefit screening for the Israel Philharmonic in Paris, opening in January at the Shoah Memorial.

The film also enjoyed a theatrical release in Sydney, Australia, and went on to be screened in London, England, Italy and Israel.

And now, the PBS screening.

Josh Aronson

Josh Aronson

After starting his career as a still photographer for Time Life, Josh Aronson began directing television films and commercials.

Under the umbrella of Aronson Films, he made MTV videos, television pilots and specials and over 500 commercials before turning to documentaries in 1999.

Multi-talented, filmmaker Josh is also a high level amateur concert pianist, who regularly performs chamber music in New York City (his primary residence) and at the Telluride Musicfest, the chamber music festival he founded in 2002 with his wife, virtuosic violinist and artistic director Maria Bachmann and Vincent and Anne Mai. (The 2013 event takes place in late June.)

For a preview of what’s in store on PBS, watch this trailer.

And while we are on the subject of Josh Aronson, he is also co-producer with Anne and Vincent Mai of the Telluride Music Festival.

The 11th season of Telluride Musicfest is only months away. The theme this year, “Bohemians,” is inspired by composers of Bohemia and those with Bohemian spirit – Dvorak, Suk, Smetana, Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Taneyev and more. It portends a sumptuous and delicious festival this summer.

The festival will present four different programs on June 26th, June 30th, July 3rd and the finale on July 7th.

This year our beloved Trio Solisti will be joined by exciting new artists: Grammy-nominated violist Richard O’Neill who won the Avery Fisher Career Prize and recently made his conducting debut, and cellist Edward Arron, who is the artistic director of The Metropolitan Museum Artists Concerts where he also performs regularly. Returning artists include the Wizard of Juilliard, violinist and violist Toby Appel, the spectacular pianist Adam Neiman, and our great friend, violist Kathryn Lockwood.

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