Bronislaw Huberman, as seen in ORCHESTRA OF EXILES, a Josh Aronson film. A First Run Features release. Photo courtesy of the Felicja Blumental Music Center Library/Huberman Archive.
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Orchestra of Exiles (2011/2012)
Opened: 10/26/2012 Limited
|Quad Cinema/NYC||10/26/2012 - 11/08/2012||14 days|
|Music Hall 3||11/02/2012 - 11/15/2012||14 days|
|Town Center 5||11/02/2012 - 11/08/2012||7 days|
|Quad Cinema/NYC||11/16/2012 - 11/22/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
One Polish violinist. 70 Jewish musicians. Together they fought the Nazis with the only weapon they had: Music.
Featuring Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell and others, Orchestra of Exiles is the suspenseful chronicle of how one man helped save Europe's premiere Jewish musicians from obliteration by the Nazis during WWII.
In the early 1930's Hitler began firing Jewish musicians across Europe. Overcoming extraordinary obstacles, violinist Bronislaw Huberman moved these great musicians to Palestine and formed a symphony that would become the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. With courage, resourcefulness and an entourage of allies including Arturo Toscanini and Albert Einstein, Huberman saved close to 1000 Jews - along with the musical heritage of Europe.
Bronislaw Huberman was a man who performed a unique and extraordinary feat of sustained heroism between 1933 and 1936 -- an action that ultimately saved 1,000 Jews and re-defined the cultural world forever. And yet, when his story was told to me four years ago by the daughter of one of the men he saved, I had never heard of Huberman or his powerful journey. I was instantly intrigued and soon learned that little had been written about this great man and a film had never been made of this story. I never looked back and spent the next 3 years making Orchestra of Exiles.
The research necessitated the translation of thousands of letters, interviews and articles in libraries from Berlin to Tel Aviv. That process would take two years and in reviewing the material and writing the script I came to realize that the film would be structurally complex and would touch on many themes. But at root it was clear the film must present the story of a man with burning moral fiber who saw intolerance and, with his response, truly changed the world.
Huberman was not born to fulfill such a high purpose -- he came to it through personal struggle and heightened sensitivity that came after long years of sacrifice. By all reports he was a highly complex man -- hard to know, eccentric, driven. Huberman was not given to self analysis or personal revelation in his letters or writings, and this made his personal story all the more difficult to get hold of.
Born in Poland in 1882, he was a true violin prodigy who played for Brahms at 12. Huberman's father soon saw gold in his son's violin and presented his gifted boy all over the world to make money. Young Huberman was denied a childhood, education and his family. It took his father's sudden death, and bearing witness to the human disaster of WWI, for Huberman to begin to re-create himself. He canceled all of his concerts at the height of his career and enrolled at the Sorbonne to educate himself. In 2 years he would return to a monumental career, humanized and politicized.
The artist who emerged from university re-took his place among the elite musicians of the world but he had a different perspective on life than before. Within a decade he was confronted by the realities of the political world between the Wars - Hitler, anti-Semitism, Palestine, Zionism - and by then Huberman had the power, imagination and moral fortitude to envision the remarkable goals that he would accomplish between 1933 and 1939.
Orchestra of Exiles depicts the grueling story of the birth of the Palestine Symphony. But at its core, this is a deeply human story of Huberman's personal transformation from a career-driven eccentric into a politically aware humanist who dedicated himself to his political and humanist goals.
I have made documentary films on a wide range of subjects and have learned that the ones I've been most proud of, and that made a difference in the world, are the films in which the basic human story grabbed me viscerally from the start and whose subjects engaged me for the thrilling extended ride of exploration and research. Orchestra of Exiles was one of these projects.
-- Josh Aronson, Director
About the Filmmakers
Josh Aronson (Director)
After starting his career as a still photographer for Time Life, Aronson began directing television films and commercials. Through Aronson Films he directed MTV videos, television pilots and specials and over 500 commercials before turning to documentaries in 1999. Since then Aronson has made award-winning documentaries on a fascinating variety of topics. He is also a concert pianist and regularly plays chamber music in New York and at the Telluride Musicfest, the chamber music festival he founded in 2002 with his wife, violinist Maria Bachmann. From 1985-1993 Aronson was president of Gilson/Aronson Films, a commercial and MTV production company based in New York. Gilson/Aronson Films directed scores of commercials and MTV videos for agencies and record companies worldwide.
Nancy Kennedy (Editor)
Nancy Kennedy is an award-winning editor based in New York whose many credits include Why We Figh" (Sundance Grand Jury prize winner), For the Bible Tells Me So, When the Drum is Beating, Thank You and Goodnight, Einstein's Letter, and many more. She has also co-directed and edited several independent documentaries including Who Does She Think She Is?, Bluegrass Journey, and Who's on First? She has worked for all the major networks on such series as American Masters, Great Performances, National Geographic Specials, and American Experience among others. She has recently completed Gregory Crewdson: Dreams in Twilight.
Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-born violinist, teacher, and conductor, considered to be one of the preeminent violinists of the century. Perlman has received four Emmy Awards and fifteen Grammy Awards, and he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor in 2003. He also performed the violin solos on the score for Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, composed by John Williams. Outside of performing, Perlman devotes a significant amount of time to education, instructing students at the Perlman Music Program and at the Juilliard School. For more information visit www.itzhakperlman.com
Zubin Mehta is an Indian born conductor and Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO). He is one of the most sought after conductors in the world and has served as Music Director for several of the world's finest orchestras including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. As Music Director for Life he has led over 3,000 concerts with the IPO to date. For more information visit www.zubinmehta.net
Pinchas Zukerman is an Israeli-born violinist considered to be one of the preeminent violinists of our time. Zukerman first began playing the violin at 8 years old and the prodigious young musician attracted the attention of violinist Isaac Stern and cellist Pablo Casals. He went on to study at the Juilliard School and now teaches at Manhattan School of Music. Zukerman is also much in demand as a conductor and was appointed Music Director of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1998, where he remains today.
Leon Botstein is an American conductor and scholar who serves as president of Bard College. He has done much research and writing in the worlds of music, history, culture and education. Botstein is the Music director and conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and is Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.
Joshua Bell is a Grammy Award-winning American violinist who currently plays the Stradivarius violin once owned by Bronislaw Huberman. Bell is a critically acclaimed classical recording artist, whose album Romance of the Violin was named the Billboard 2004 Classical CD of the Year, and Bell himself was named the Classical Artist of the Year. For more information visit www.joshuabell.com
Amnon Weinstein is an internationally renowned violinmaker. From their shop in Tel Aviv, Amnon and his son make and repair violins brought in from all over the world. For the past 20 years Weinstein has been locating and repairing the violins made by the Nazis for the sole use of Jewish musicians playing in concentration camp orchestras. Through his organization, Violins of Hope, Weinstein has taken these instruments around the world in a series of exhibitions, performances, and educational programs that has explored the history of music and art in the face of oppression.