Aronson: The Sound Of Music, Harmony Project
Josh Aronson is a long time, part-time Telluride local.
Under the umbrella of Aronson Films, Aronson made MTV videos, television pilots, and specials and over 500 commercials before turning to documentaries in 1999. The multi-talented filmmaker 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 with their friends, Vincent and Anne Mai. (Note: Musicfest is now taking a time out.) One of Josh’s latest documentaries is “Orchestra of Exiles,” now also a book.
With all that, Josh is also a philanthropist. One of his nonprofit initiatives is The Harmony Project.
“The progress of students and their families whose lives are impacted by the Harmony Project is evident. Students’ self esteem grows, academic results improve, and socializing skills noticeably improve. The contribution to the lives of these future citizens who might otherwise have been left behind will be tangible and measurable,” said Aronson.
Below is what more Josh Aronson has to say about The Harmony Project.
Two years ago I founded an after school music program called The Harmony Project, Hudson, for at-risk kids in Hudson, NY.
We started with 23 kids and in 1 year we have doubled in size, now serving almost 50 students. The project is based on one I filmed in LA a few years ago for PBS. I was floored by the positive social and educational growth of the kids attending this program and was motivated to create one myself in this very challenged community of the Hudson Valley.
We have created an online Crowd Funder to help support our summer program this July.
On the site you will find a short film that I made with our teachers and kids that I hope you will enjoy.
Please make a donation if you can and pass the site on with a personal note to everyone you know who might be interested in helping our at-risk kids in Hudson through music.
The magic of Crowd Funding sites is we happily accept $7.50 grants on up to thousands(!!!) so everyone and anyone
who is touched by this program can help out.
It’s deductible above $10 from this site as the donation goes through our fiscal sponsor, Bard College.
If you’d like to learn more about our program let me know.
Thank you for your help.
More about “Orchestra of Exiles,” the film – and other Aronson projects:
“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).
A survey of the Josh’s work might suggest the Oscar-nominated filmmaker 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 of Josh’s 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, no tears) 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; 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 at the heart of the film that had Aronson’s Telluride audience on the edge of our seats. “Orchestra of Exiles” is a thriller, and like “Argo,” which premiered in town at the Telluride Film Festival, 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 had its theatrical openings in New York and Los Angeles in Fall, 2012, timed to overlap with the Israel Philharmonic’s tour across America. In both cities, audience enthusiasm and attendance assured an extended runoff the project.
“Orchestra of Exiles” went on to screen at theaters, universities and festivals across the country, though its’ official premiere took place in Germany at the Berlin Jewish Museum November 22, 2012. Josh also did a benefit screening for the Israel Philharmonic in Paris at the Shoah Memorial.
“Orchestra of Exiles” was then released in Sydney, Australia; London, England; Italy, and Israel.
The film also showed on PBS.
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