Words and music coalesce in a moving homage when author and violinist Rebecca Jackson honors her mentor, Holocaust survivor David Arben (1927-2017), with an evening of storytelling and a solo violin performance at Temple Beth Shalom.
Two years after the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, Arben fled the Warsaw Ghetto, along with his family, through the sewers of the sprawling capital city, only to be captured three months later. He was separated from his relatives and sent to a concentration camp. It was the last time the aspiring young violinist would see his family alive. Because of his talent, his Nazi captors spared him. When the war was over, he immigrated to the United States and, once here, embarked on a long and fruitful career, playing for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he became the associate concertmaster in 1979. He remained with the Philadelphia Orchestra until his retirement in 1993.
Jackson, who first met Arben when she was an 18-year-old violin student and studied with him later at Julliard, is an acting member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. She interviewed Arben for her master’s thesis at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2007. That interview eventually led to the writing of the authorized biography Arben: David Arben’s Life of Miracles & Successes, co-written by Jackson and her father, Dr. John Jackson, and published by Naches Press in May 2019. The event at Temple Beth Shalom (205 E. Barcelona Rd.) is in conjunction with the book’s promotional tour.
Jackson will be giving a multimedia presentation that includes photographs and readings of excerpts from the new biography. She ends the evening with a performance of Russian composer Polina Nazaykinskaya’s Hope, which was commissioned in Arben’s memory. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, and is followed by a reception. There is no charge, but donations of $5 per person are encouraged. For more information, contact Temple Beth Shalom at 505-982-1376 or visit sftbs.org.