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NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (AP) — The already remarkable life of Holocaust survivor George Horner is about to take another exceptional turn.
The 90 year old pianist will make his orchestral debut with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Tuesday night at Boston's Symphony Hall. And they'll be playing music composed 70 years ago at the Nazi prison camp where Horner was incarcerated.
"It's an extraordinary link to the past," said concert organizer Mark Ludwig.
The performance will benefit the Terezin Music Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the work of artists and musicians killed in the Holocaust.
Led by Ludwig, the foundation is named for the town of Terezin, site of an unusual Jewish ghetto in what was then German-occupied Czechoslovakia. There, even amid death and hard labor, Nazi soldiers allowed prisoners to stage artistic performances.
Horner played piano and accordion in the Terezin cabarets, including tunes written by fellow inmate Karel Svenk. On Tuesday, Horner will play two of Svenk's works solo — a march and a lullaby — and then team up with Ma for a third piece called "How Come the Black Man Sits in the Back of the Bus?"
Svenk did not survive the genocide. But his musical legacy has, due in part to a chance meeting of Ludwig, a scholar of Terezin composers, and Horner, who never forgot the songs that were written and played in captivity.
Still, Ludwig found it hard to ask Horner to perform pieces laden with such difficult memories.
"To ask somebody who ... played this in the camps, that's asking a lot," said Ludwig.
Yet Horner, now a retired doctor living near Philadelphia, readily agreed to what he described as a "noble" mission. It didn't hurt that he would be sharing the stage with Ma — even if he thought Ludwig was joking at first.
"I told him, 'Do you want me to swallow that one?'" Horner recalled with a laugh. "I couldn't believe it, because it's a fantastic thing for me."
The program features additional performances by Ma and the Hawthorne String Quartet. In a statement, Ma said he's glad the foundation is "giving voice through music to those whose voices have been tragically silenced."
Horner was 21 when he was freed by Allied soldiers in 1945 after serving time at Terezin, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. His parents and sister perished in the camps.
And though his back still bears the scars of a Nazi beating, he remains spry and seems much younger than his 90 years.
When Horner found out about the duet with Ma, Ludwig said, "he was so excited, to me he sounded like a teenager."
SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Police say it was a student who opened fire at a Nevada middle school today, killing a staff member who was trying to protect other children.
The suspected gunman also is dead, but authorities say no shots were fired by law enforcement, though more than 150 officers responded.
The shooting erupted outside Sparks Middle School shortly before classes began this morning. Two other students were critically injured in the incident. They were both taken to a nearby hospital, where one is out of surgery. Police say the other as doing well.
Students from the middle school and next door elementary school were evacuated to the nearby high school, and classes were canceled. At the evacuation center, parents walked with their arms around their children, some of whom were in tears.
The city of Sparks lies just east of Reno.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 16 year old Pakistani teen targeted for a Taliban assassination because she championed education for girls has inspired the development of a school curriculum encouraging advocacy.
George Washington University announced Monday that faculty members are creating multimedia curriculum tools to accompany a book recently released by the teen, Malala Yousafzai. Several faculty members will pilot the curriculum early next year for both college and high school instruction. Free of charge, it will focus on themes such as the importance of a woman's voice and political extremism, the university said.
The tools won't just look at the teen's story, but also how the same issues get reflected elsewhere, such as when girls face child marriage and pressures to leave school, said Mary Ellsberg, the director of the university's Global Women's Institute.
"It's going to be really interactive and really encourage students to do ... activities outside of school, it will encourage them to get engaged in the communities and as well to help the Malala Fund directly," Ellsberg said.
The university's Global Women's Institute is partnered with the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to ensure girls around the world have access to education.
In 2012 when a Taliban gunman walked up to a bus taking Malala and other children home from school in Pakistan's volatile northern Swat Valley and shot Malala in the head and neck. Another girl on the bus was also wounded. Malala now resides in Britain, where she was flown for medical care. Her memoir is "I am Malala."