With a career encompassing a broad range of activities as a cellist, performer, teacher, and administrator, Aron Zelkowicz has cultivated a repertoire both classical and ethnic, familiar and obscure. For eleven years he served as the Founder and Director of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival, which presented rare and diverse works from Jewish musical traditions. Under his guidance, the Festival featured renowned ensembles and guest artists from the orchestral, chamber, early music, rock, and world music genres in innovative and thematic programs, for which he directed every aspect of fundraising, marketing, production, and artistic planning. Critics noted his “impressive” directorial debut of an original 2013 production of the chamber opera “The Dybbuk” by Ofer Ben-Amots, and dubbed the Festival “one of the highest quality concert series in town” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) and a local “best-kept secret” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). More recently the Festival has taken up an ambitious recording project devoted to composers from the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music. The first two volumes of this “Russian Jewish Classics” series were released in 2015-16 on the Toccata Classics label, featuring music by Leo Zeitlin and Joachim Stutschewsky, with future albums slated for release in 2017.
As a chamber and orchestral musician, Dr. Zelkowicz has performed at the Tanglewood, Banff, Aspen, Sarasota, Chautauqua, Colorado, Cactus Pear, and Sunflower music festivals, the New York String Orchestra and Juilliard Quartet Seminars, with members of the Emerson and Cleveland Quartets, as Principal Cello of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and on European and North American tours with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. As a teacher and coach to young string players, he has given master classes at the universities of Alaska, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin, and served on the faculties of Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp, the Brevard Music Center, Killington Music Festival, and the North Carolina Governor’s School. In 2013 he completed an eight-city tour of the midwest U.S. playing the complete Britten Cello Suites in honor of the composer’s 100th birthday.
A native of Ottawa, Canada, Aron Zelkowicz grew up in Pittsburgh and received degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and Stony Brook University, where his teachers included Paul Katz, Steven Doane, Janos Starker, and Colin Carr. He currently performs in the Boston area as a member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and the Boston Lyric Opera.