Frances Brent

Frances Brent was the co-translator of Beyond the Limit: Poems by Irina Ratushinskaya. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Yale Review, the Denver Quarterly, and most recently in New American Writing

"Frances Brent’s wonderful book movingly allows Lev Aronson’s "Lost Cellos” to sing again of dark times and profound yearning." —Elie Wiesel


Frances Brent's book The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson is now available.


The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson

To a musician, his instrument is a partner, an extension of himself. Frances Brent explores the fate of Lev Aronson and the prized instruments that passed through his hands as a way of understanding what was lost and preserved during the Holocaust. Born in Germany, but raised in Russia and Latvia, Aronson traveled through the music world of Europe with great expectations and encountered its cultural collapse first hand.

In the Riga Ghetto and in German concentration camps Aronson is forced to reshape his own identity in order to survive. He loses his lover but marries a young dancer who helps him rebuild his life as a musician. In the camps, he “think-sings” the concertos he knows from memory, establishing a sense of time and patience that gives him the strength to survive. After the war, he became the principal cellist in the Dallas symphony, renowned worldwide as a teacher of cello.

Brent paints a moving portrait of a Jewish musician who transcended his own personal losses to transmit the culture of musical Europe to a generation of Americans.

(Atlas & Co, July 2009)