Shony Alex Braun

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Shony Alex Braun (1932–2002) was a Romanian born violinist, Holocaust survivor, classical composer and actor. He wrote over 200 compositions including classic, Romanian and Gypsy music. His "Symphony of the Holocaust" for violin and orchestra was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.[1] He also played bit parts in the TV shows Perry Mason, WKRP in Cincinnati and the film '68.[2] He died of pneumonia on October 4, 2002.[3]

Early life[edit]

Shony Alex Braun first encountered the enchanting spell of the violin as a frightened four-year-old child, lost in the dark forests of Transylvania (Hungary-Romania). Rescued by Gypsies and taken to their camp, little Shony was comforted and fascinated by the little box that makes music.

He began studying the violin shortly thereafter and at age 10 he debut on Radio Bucharest. Shony began composing music at the age of eleven. Two years later, he received a scholarship from the Budapest Academy of Music. However, he was never able to complete his studies. That year, at age 13 he and his family were transported to Auschwitz. His mother and sister were killed immediately. He was later sent to Dachau where he remained until liberation. After the Holocaust he resumed his violin studies. He emigrated to the United States in 1950.[4] His experiences in Dachau are recorded in the book My Heart Is a Violin.

Throughout the Nazi nightmare, the violin continued to comfort Shony and, on one occasion, literally saved his life.[5] The day before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated by the Allies, Shony was shot in the chest and left for dead. But he survived.

After liberation, Shony continued his music studies and graduated from the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria. In 1950, he and his wife Shàri, also a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to the United States, where he studied violin with Professor Josef Gingold at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Music.


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  4. ^ Vanderknyff, Rick (1986-12-05), "Gypsy-inspired : Holocaust Survivor To Perform", Los Angeles Times 
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Shony Alex Braun Shony Alex Braun with Emily Cavins, My Heart is a Violin, 1st Books, 2002