Riches Come from “Dance of the Russian Peasant”. Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth. In some cases from absolute obscurity to heights of fame. With this blog both wealth and fame happen. This is a common archetype in literature and popular culture. Examples are in the writings of Horatio Alger, Jr.
Rags to Riches is Exemplified by a Violinist!
The featured picture places the meaning of the title on a silver platter. The story you are about to read is touching. Anyone struggling, poor or victimized by discrimination can identify with it.
The Rags to Riches Story
A violinist reached an income level of $500,000/year in the 1930’s. That was during the heighth of the Great Depression. His name was David Rubinoff. Dave’s childhood was dramatically poor. It was recorded by his wife, Dame Darlene Rubinoff. Her book is called, The Dance of the Russian Peasant. I, David Ohrenstein, was his arranger and accompanist for over 15 years. Currently guests hear my piano playing 6 nights weekly. This is on the isle of Boca Grande, Fl. It is on a newly rebuilt Steinway. Location is at the world renowned Gasparilla Inn. Dave Rubinoff dictated his entire book to wife, Dame Darlene. Since he spoke broken English, at best, she edited his words.
“Paderewski was Headmaster of the Warsaw conservatory. He later became premier of Poland. Professor Leopold Auer was headmaster of the violin department. He taught such greats as Heifetz and Zimbalist.
We had no time for play. Everything was work, study, practice, and practice some more. Professor Dressnor was working with me. He hit my fingers with his bow.”Wrong, wrong!” he said, loudly. I started to play the passage again and he hit my fingers. “But I did not play it yet”, I said dejectedly.
“Never mind. It would have been wrong anyway!”, he said loudly. I vowed that for my graduation I would play something so difficult, that no one could play it but me. I filled it with difficult passages my professor would not be able to play.” As a result, Dave Rubinoff wrote “Dance of the Russian Peasant.” This personal fire stayed with Rubinoff throughout his life.
Best news of all. I will be honoring my mentor, Dave Rubinoff 30 some years after his passing away. This will be on June 2, 2018 at the new Ted Lewis Museum. It is in Circleville, Ohio. Included will be our arrangements. I will play them with famed violinist, Steven Greenman. The orchestral conductor will be maestro Joseph Rubin. Afterwards I will lecture about our association. To find the particulars, visit the Ted Lewis Museum on line. Do not miss this inspiring all-American event.
Rubinoff in concert at the White House.