25 June 2012

MUSICAL OBEs FOR SOUTH AFRICANS

Earlier this year, South African-born musician Sarah Aaronson was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Her OBE was awarded for her services to music and charity. Sarah was born in South Africa to Lithuanian immigrants and grew up in Doornfontein. She was nine years old when she started playing the accordion, and gave her first concert a year later. She also learnt the piano and organ. As a young child, she played for General Jan Smuts. As an adult, her audience included the Queen Mother and the Queen of Jordan. Sarah studied music at the University of the Witwatersrand and continued her music career in London. She lives in London and is married to a Londoner. Sarah is a keen gardener and still plants agapanthus to remind her of the South African home she left in 1960. Her brother lives in South Africa. Sarah founded the London International Orchestra with conductor Solly Aronowsky. The orchestra raises funds for various charities, including some South African charities. South African-born lyricist Herbert Kretzmer, who wrote the lyrics to Les Misérables, also received the OBE for his services to music. He wrote the English lyrics of I Dreamed a Dream from the musical, which was sung in 2009 by Susan Boyle in the reality TV talent show Britain's Got Talent.