After an intense, reflective national search for qualified candidates, we are honored to announce the appointment of the inaugural board for the Aronson Cello Festival (ACF).
Meet our exceptional and brilliant team.
Composer and Conductor
Victoria is a major force in 21st Century music. Her compositions have been performed by the New York City Opera, Shanghai, Dallas and Houston Symphonies, members of the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater and the Cassatt and Audubon Quartets. Victoria has served as principal guest conductor of Chamber Opera Chicago since 2005. Her prior positions include Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and New York City Opera and Music Director of the Roanoke Symphony and Opera and New York City Opera and Music Director of the Roanoke Symphony and Opera, Bel Canto Opera and Harrisburg Opera. She is the first woman awarded a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School. Victoria is the first recipient of the Aronson “A” Award and was the keynote speaker at the Sixth Aronson Cello Festival honoring “Women and Classical Music.”
Associate Principal Cellist, The Los Angeles Philharmonic
Ben joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993 at the age of 24, making him the youngest member of the orchestra at the time. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Ben won his native country’s National Cello Competition three years in a row before leaving home at 13 for the Juilliard School. Later, he studied with Lynn Harrell at the University of Southern California’s School of Music before joining the LA Philharmonic. Ben performs frequently as soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. Ben has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim
Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Cho-Liang Lin, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher O’Riley, Sir Simon Rattle, Shanghai String Quartet, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lars Vogt and Long Yu. Ben served as an on-set technical advisor by Dreamworks to train cast members of “The Soloist” including Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and Tom Hollander. Ben’s playing is featured on the film’s soundtrack. Ben’s other interests include motorcycles, bicycling, scuba diving, martial arts and West African drumming.
Emmy Award Winning Storyteller. Harvard MBA.
Ty has more than two decades of experience as a journalist working in network, cable and local television, film, radio and print. For his work in television news, Ty earned six Los Angeles Emmys, the National Edward R. Murrow Award, nine Golden Mikes, and the Associated Press Award for California. He honed his storytelling craft working closely for years with Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley at CBS News/60 Minutes where Ty specialized in hard news, investigative reporting. He later served as managing editor for KPIX Television in San Francisco. He also launched and ran an investigative unit for KNBC in Los Angeles for four years as its founding executive producer.
Among Ty’s recent work includes a documentary about the renowned cellist Lynn Harrell and his 60-year journey through music. The film includes fresh interviews with Oscar-winning composers John Williams and André Previn (his last filmed interview), virtuoso violinists Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter, the celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and others. The film was invited to be shown at the Aronson Cello Festival at Southern Methodist University (SMU), The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, The Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University and other major venues.
In 2018, Ty directed and produced a series of short films about the life and students of Lev Aronson which premiered at the Sixth Aronson Cello Festival. These short films profiled Christopher Adkins (principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra), Mitchell Maxwell (principal cellist of the Dallas Opera Orchestra), Brian Thornton (of the Cleveland Orchestra), the leading expert on Lev Aronson author Frances Brent, the two step-daughters of Lev Aronson (Joy Jamerson and Cheryl Surana), Victoria Bond, Dr. Melissa Kraut, and many other lifetime artists.
For his work on behalf of The Aronson Cello Festival (ACF), Ty was a recipient of the Aronson “A” Award. Ty serves as the organization’s inaugural board chairman. Some of his early accomplishments as Board Chair included recruiting the inaugural board and launching a series of fundraisers around the United States to build awareness of ACF, relaunching and helping redesign the ACF website and creating a new slate of programming for the upcoming festival.
Ty’s pro bono work on behalf of the organization includes directing and producing original short films about major classical music artists. His most recent film which profiles the renowned cellist Ben Hong will premiere at the next Aronson Cello Festival in June of 2020. Ty’s continuing work also includes launching two new short film series: “Women and Classical Music” as well as an ongoing series entitled “The Greatest Cellists” which will kick-off with a short film about Emanuel Feuermann.
Ty is a member of the national advisory council for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and runs a private consulting practice that specializes in branding, entrepreneurial marketing and media consulting. His pro bono work also includes running “The Andrew B. Kim and Wan Kyun Rha Kim Family Foundation, Inc.” which supports the arts and education on a national level.
Co-Chair of Cello Department, Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)
Co-head of the cello department at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), Melissa is recognized as one of the leading pedagogues of her generation. With degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Iowa and Northwestern University, Melissa has had the opportunity to study with the great pedagogues Alan Harris and Hans-Jorgen Jensen as well as summer study/master classes with cellists such as Aldo Parisot, Frank Miller, Yo-Yo Ma, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and David Soyer. As a student, she participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Center for the Arts and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Europe. An active performer, Melissa has led a diverse career on stage with solo and chamber performances throughout the United States and Europe.
She has held leadership positions in several orchestras, and has played under the baton of conductors such as Sir Georg Solti, Valery Gergiev and Semyon Bychkov. Melissa currently enjoys performing chamber music with her friends and colleagues throughout the world. Melissa enjoys reaching students from all over the world through master classes and workshops. Her status as a Suzuki Teacher Trainer, enables her to pass on her love of pedagogy to the next generation of teachers. In addition, she is passionate about public speaking and the ability to reach audiences of a larger scope, about topics broader than cello.
DR.Myles Lee, MD
President, The Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra. Photographer.
Myles recently retired as a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who practiced in Los Angeles, California for forty years. While pursuing a premedical course at Harvard University, Myles obtained a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in art history, wrote an honors thesis on Chinese landscape painting of the Sung Dynasty, and studied the Korean language. Following Tufts Medical School, he completed an internship and residency in general surgery at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, then served for two years as a Major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps at the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea. Myles began his cardiac surgical career at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
In May, 2018, Myles and Victoria Bond released the album, Soul of a Nation: Portraits of Presidential Character, featuring soloists from the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. This prolific duo is now working on the score and libretto of an original musical composition about Winston Churchill which is slated to premiere during the June 2020 Aronson Cello Festival (ACF) in Cleveland, Ohio. Through their research, Victoria and Myles discovered that Mr. Churchill was in fact a cellist.
Myles is a professional abstract expressionist photographer. His most recent exhibit, Nature's Art Unveiled, premiered at the Castelli Art Space in Los Angeles in October 2018. For five years, Myles has served as President of the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra. Myles has traveled extensively in South America, Europe, Africa, the South Pacific, and Asia. Some of his more unusual destinations included the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal, Siberia, Vietnam, Laos, the Amazon jungle, and a pilgrimage to the Soviet Union to visit Yasnaya Polyana, the estate of Count Leo Tolstoy.
Principal Cellist, The Dallas Opera Orchestra
A native of Abilene, Texas, Mitch is Principal Cellist with the Dallas Opera Orchestra. A long-time student of the late Lev Aronson, Mitch is an active chamber music performer in the Dallas area and is one of the founding members of the Trinity Chamber Players. Mitch was a faculty member and the Assistant Principal Cellist in the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra at North Carolina's Eastern Music Festival. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University. Mitch has been a beloved and consistent supporter of the Aronson Cello Festival since its inception. His keynote address as a featured and honored speaker at the Aronson Cello Festival (ACF) along with an emotionally powerful personal story featured in a short film by Ty Kim has been recognized as a source of inspiration for musicians and classical music lovers of all backgrounds and ages.
Music Director, The Phoenix Symphony
In his second season as Music Director of The Phoenix Symphony, Tito Muñoz is increasingly recognized as one of the most gifted and versatile conductors of his generation. He previously served as Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy in France. Prior appointments include Assistant Conductor positions with The Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Muñoz's recent and upcoming guest appearances include the Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Manhattan School of Music, and Toronto Royal Conservatory. Additional international engagements include the Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, SWR Sinfonieorchester, Sao Paolo State Symphony, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra, and Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Muñoz continues to maintain a close relationship with The Cleveland Orchestra, where he has a regular conducting presence, including a critically acclaimed subscription week as a last-minute replacement for Pierre Boulez. Committed to working with young artists, Mr. Muñoz has conducted performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, New England Conservatory, New World Symphony, Oberlin Conservatory, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Kinhaven Music School, National Repertory Orchestra, as well as a nine-city tour with the St. Olaf College Orchestra.
Additionally, he has had ongoing relationships with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and the Portland (OR) Youth Philharmonic, leading rehearsals and masterclasses. He has also led conducting classes at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Cleveland Institute of Music and Indiana University. An accomplished violinist, Mr. Muñoz began his musical training in the Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program, continuing studies in violin and composition at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division. He attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and participated in the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and New York Youth Symphony. He furthered his training at Queens College (CUNY) as a violin student of Daniel Phillips.
Board Member, The Phoenix Symphony. Photographer.
Doris has been a trustee of the Phoenix Art Museum and serves on the board of the Phoenix Symphony. She is a member of the Arizona State University Dean’s Creativity Council. Doris served on the Trends Charitable Foundation as the grants chairman.
In 1999, Doris was chair of the Cultural Diversity Committee of the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission. She also served on sub-committee of the 2006 Phoenix Bond Election which passed successfully, funding Arts & Cultural Groups. Doris served as a former Honorary Commander of Luke Air Force Base and is currently on the leadership team as historian and photographer of the Blue Blazer Squadron of Fighter Country Partnership. This past September, Doris served as an official photographer with the Luke Air Force delegation 100 Year WWI Commemoration of Frank Luke in Murvaux, France and the joint French/American Ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.
Doris grew up in Malaysia, Singapore. She worked in publishing in London and Canada and then emigrated to the US. Doris earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors in geography from the University of Singapore. Recently retired from a career in real estate, Doris is now pursuing her passion for publishing, photography, painting, and traveling.
Partner, Rare Violins of New York
Bruno Price has been a dealer of fine instruments for over 30 years. He has established many important and trusting relationships with the world’s foremost musicians, collectors and instrument dealers. Born in Great Britain to a musical family, Bruno trained as a cellist at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (UK), and later earned his graduate degree in Cello Performance at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, where he studied with Marc Johnson of the Vermeer Quartet. Bruno transitioned from cellist to instrument dealer in 1986 when he joined Bein & Fushi in Chicago. He later moved to the East Coast, where in 2002 he formed Rare Violins of New York with Ziv Arazi.
Founding Artistic Director of The Aronson Cello Festival (ACF)
Cellist, The Cleveland Orchestra
Brian Thornton is the founding artistic director of the newly rebranded Aronson Cello Festival (ACF). In the early days of the organization once called “The Lev Aronson Legacy Festival”, Brian and a small group of volunteers almost singlehandedly launched the festival through their passion, grit and determination. It started as a one-time way to honor Brian’s teacher, Maestro Lev Aronson. The festival was hosted for six seasons by Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, where the renowned cellist and teacher, Mr. Aronson, taught music for many years before his passing in November of 1988. Brian was one of Maestro Aronson’s last students.
Brian and a group of some of the greatest cellists, musicians and artists in the world carry on the tradition, teachings and philosophy of this iconic teacher—who taught them life lessons along with a mastery of the instrument that carries the range of the human voice.
Brian teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and performs with the Cleveland Orchestra where he has been part of the cello section for twenty-five seasons. His solo album: Kol Nidrei and Beyond, Lev's Story, is centered on the vocal qualities of the cello, and is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Aronson. Education is also a focus of Brian’s life, and he spends part of his time teaching at CIM, conducting young musicians, as well as traveling to teach in different parts of the world. Brian began playing the cello in the public school system of Chicago, giving him a passion for teaching young musicians and public school outreach programs.
He has traveled from Kolkata, India to Osaka, Japan, influencing young musicians not only to play better cello, but to use music to positively affect the world around them. Modern music is of particular interest to Brian, and he has premiered more than a hundred new solo cellos works around the world. He has also commissioned many new works, including the Five Works of Shakespeare by the world renown composer Geoffrey Gordon.