After joining the UM faculty as a full professor in 1963, Naruns formed a cello octet that performed around South Florida. He also gave concerts with Michele Levin, and with a trio the two formed with George Zazofsky, the UM violin department’s late chairman.
Naruns “liked to work very hard,’’ said Levin. “He was trained in the old Russian and German schools, and he was very serious about being faithful to the composer. But he also loved life, loved to party, and had many friends. He was a big bear of a guy.’’
She played with him at a Latvian celebration in Montreal, where he was greeted by countrymen as a celebrity.
“We played Medins,’’ Levin recalled. “They loved this music. After the concert, there were no more need for words. People were crying.’’
In 1991, Naruns returned to Latvia for the first time since the war, and gave concerts that newspapers covered on their front pages.
“It was the most wonderful thing for him, that he got to do it before he died,’’ said Levin.
By then, the Greater Miami Philharmonic — later the Florida Philharmonic — was no more. Likewise the Boca Raton Chamber Symphony, which both Naruns and Ellis joined after the philharmonic folded.
“We moved back to New York in ’86,’’ she said. “He gave more concerts,’’ then stopped playing when he was 80.
An animal lover, he would get day-old bagels from a deli near his home and feed them to ducks.
In addition to Ellis and daughter Sylvia, Naruns is survived by daughter Ingrid Naruns-Gil, also of Key Biscayne.
The family suggests donations in his memory to The Perlman Music Program, Itzhak and Toby Perlman’s summer camp for exceptionally talented young musicians: perlmanmusicprogram.org.
The remains were cremated.