Traditional Employment includes types of people and places. Any new year is a time for reflection: What happened or didn’t happen last year? What might happen this year? Since this new year (2019) is about to begin, I thought I’d reflect on previous jobs. I seem to have a predilection for working with: (1) Successful older people. (2) Spectacular older places. By traditional I refer to: (1) Great places built over 100 years ago. Or, (2) Successful men who, at the time, were old enough to be my grandfather or possibly great-grandfather at the time of employment.
Traditional Employment by Rubinoff and His Violin
I learned the musical craft of arranging and accompanying from Rubinoff. He conducted the Paramount Theater in New York and Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. What a perfectionist! After working for 8 hours during the day, at night he’d change his mind. The next day we did a different 16 bars. Dave’s Stradivarius violin was purchased for $100,000.00 in 1929. He made about $500,000.00 annually in the 1930′ by conducting and performing. It seemed like the “His Violin” was his marriage contract with music.
Traditional Employment at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House
For better than 15 summer seasons I played piano for shows at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, New York. The resort was born in 1869. What a wonderful time our family had. Our children literally grew up in the Catskills at Scott’s. Playing many shows as well as our own (with wife, Sharon) were part of my duties. Most recently, the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselle got to experience the same resort.
To the right, Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)
My wife and I wrote a new opera comique entitled Patra. It certainly is quite traditional. Our models were Bizet’s Carmen and Bernstein’s West Side Story. We will have a full production workshop in New York at Schroon Lake scheduled for September 2019. This will be with the Seagle Music Colony. The Colony is under the artistic direction of Darren Woods and The American Center for New Works Development. Schroon Lake has quite a cultural history. Here is an internal link to this Schroon Lake’s glorious past. It inspired me to write a poem. Share if you wish.
Catskill Resort Celebration- my Home Away from Home. The Catskill Mountain Resorts are coming back. It’s possibly starting with Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. I was the Scott’s piano player for some 15 years. Oh boy, are the Catskills coming back! They have just been the background for a wagon load full of prestigious top entertainment industry awards. Some of the list is below, in blue. Immediately below is the Catskill Mountain movie trail from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Catskill Resort Celebration at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House
Als0, below the picture is link to a special interview with one of the stars: Rachel Brosnahan chats with Jimmy Fallon about the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She talks about years ago Scott’s turned down the filming of Dirty Dancing. The clip at Scotts, relatively new posts, have 75,00 views.
Above, Rachel is speaking in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards. It is at the Barker Hangar. Date is Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Location is Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)
Yes miracles still happen. Just when everybody is ready to give the resort up, this happens. Scott’s will be featured in quite a number of episodes this coming year. I have been the piano player at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House over a span of some 15 years. Hard times hit the resort. Bus loads of people from Ontario, Canada stopped coming. This was due to higher taxes and added health insurance costs on group bus tours. A high percentage of their business was Canadian. In addition to to regular fair, Canadians loved the wilderness and seemingly magical feeling of this pristine, clear lake.
More Catskill Resort Celebration
Here is one of my my contributions to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House: As Rubinoff and His Violin’s arranger and accompanist for over 15 years, I brought Rubinoff to the resort. This was in 1984. At age 86 David Rubinoff also performed miracles. This youtube video is the only complete 44 minute+ concert of his in existence.He took America by storm in the 1930’s. Please also enjoy this rare Scott’s video as I (David Ohrenstein) accompany this “legendary” violinist. He plays his Strad. It belonged to the Czars of Russia.
Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984 – YouTube
Last, but not least for my wife, Sharon, and myself. We wrote an opera comique entitled Patra. It will be showcased on Schroon lake in New York state this coming September of2019. The American Center for New Works Development is sponsoring it under the auspices of the Seagle Music Colony. More details on our website. DSOworks.com. Patra has a banner heading. Exact date to be announced shortly. Don’t miss this event!
Extremely Humble King of Early American Music. In part, Dave Rubinoff’s exactitude helped the cause of early American orchestral music. To him, music was sacred. He had such a passion for music, that his temperamental outbursts were quite infamous. He never got mad or angry any at anyone- just at what they didn’t do with the music. The American public loved him. 225,000 turned out for one of his concerts in 1937 at Grant Park in Chicago. His success and temperament were the source of much jealousy and resentment. The musicians under him were often quite resentful. They were not used to such a fireball.
Extremely Humble King at Work
Very few people were so driven by music as Dave. When he conducted or played violin, it seemed like he was on a quest for the Holy Grail. He sought Truth through music. He rarely, if ever, talked about his past personal accomplishments in music with me. His mind was focused on the music we were currently working on. Sometimes we’d work a week on arranging 16 bars of music. We would try this solution, than another, than yet another. That’s why I think of him as an extremely humble king. He literally bowed his head to the great arrangement that a melody demanded. of music. The public treated him like royalty for his efforts.
Below is a concert we gave together at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills. The year was 1984. He was 86 years of age at the time. Although Dave most likely gave 1000’s of public concerts, below is the only sample of a full concert in existence. Every minute is worth listening to. Dave discusses each selection, and why it was special to him. Some people even resented his success. A prominent concertmaster came in to hear one of our performances. I won’t even mention the derogatory things he said as he made fun of this great violinist’s style. He learned a good part of his style from Will Rogers. Will Rogers, who identified with the American Cherokee Indians, even taught him how to take his bows. He was best friends with Will.
Rubinoff Concert Review of the 1930’s. The short article below, at the Ted Lewis Museum, offers some reasons why Rubinoff was so popular with the public. I do not have its exact date. It is from the Depression era of the 1930’s. First, he was primarily popular because he brought melodic and beautiful music to America when the country needed it the most. The public rewarded him. He made as much as $500,000.00 annually. Joseph Rubin is the curator of the Ted Lewis Museum. I found this abbreviated article below on Joseph’s museum website.
What is the Ted Lewis Museum about? First, and most important me, Joseph brought me to Circleville for a Rubinoff commemoration concert this last June 2, 2018. It also was sponsored by the Ted Lewis Museum. I got a chance to perform the works I arranged with Rubinoff live with concert violinist, Steven Greenman.
The museum is located in “the Capital of the World,” Circleville, Ohio. The Ted Lewis Museum attracts thousands of visitors of all ages. They come from nearby and around the world. Educational Outreach programs are offered free of charge to Pickaway County schools. These programs bring the history and music of Ted Lewis to life. For schools and students, it featurs a 5-piece jazz band. Scholarships are annually offered to graduating Pickaway County high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in Music or the Performing Arts.
With your support, the Museum will continue to offer free admission to all visitors and expose a new generation to the timeless music of Ted Lewis and the greats of a by gone great American era.
The Ted Lewis Museum, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. All donors will be listed in the Ted Lewis Museum event programs. They will also receive the Ted Lewis Museum Newsletter in the mail and VIP seating at events.
For the record, John Philip Sousa set Rubinoff on the school concert road. The article mentions Dave was a protege of the late Victor Herbert. – I, Dave Ohrenstein, worked for 15 years with Rubinoff. He employed me as both an arranger and a piano accompanist. Dave had a genius for publicity stunts and gags. In the featured picture Jimmy Durante playing Dave’s violin. Dave Rubinoff, as part of the gag, is at the piano.
Rubinoff concert review.
Below is a link to my own website. Check it out. Musical events are upcoming. Many posts are about Rubinoff. Click on all posts.
Rubinoff and His Violin Sort of Was My Grandfather
Sampling Forgotten Music of Rubinoff is now possible. How do you revive any quality music? First, you must sample what the quality music was. Thanks to the tireless efforts of musical conductor Joseph Rubin, this is now possible. The Maestro’s concert has an incredibly fine youtube link below. Conductor Rubin’s orchestra consisted of quite a number of the finest musical professors from top universities around Ohio. Maestro Rubin is also the curator of the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, Ohio. He actually opened the museum across the street from where Ted Lewis lived. Joseph is a testimonial to how one man with vision, and hard work, can make wonderful dreams come true. Joseph contacted me to be an important part of this unforgettable concert. I had already posted a number of blogs about “Ruby”. He saw them.
For those of you who missed our Rubinoff and His Violin Concert in June of 2018, here’s a montage of some of the highlights! When was the last time you heard music of this calibur? https://youtu.be/P96T57dq8t0
Sampling Music of Forgotten Times
For 15 years I accompanied and arranged for Rubinoff and His Violin. This was from 1971 until his passing away in 1986. Below are a couple of internal links on DSOworks.com. Rubinoff had quite a success formula. At his peak he was making $500,000.00 annually in the 1930’s. This was during the Great Depression. Rubinoff credits the great American Indian personality Will Rogers with his stage manner and success. Also, Madison Avenue put together his promotion packet. Finally, Victor Herbert brought Dave and his family to America in 1911. He apprenticed under Herbert in his home in Pittsburgh, Pa. Herbert had Sunday evening VIP parties of the musical greats of the times. John Philip Sousa met him there. He got a grant from the State Department for Dave to bring children his magnificent music.
Million Thanks from the American Public. Americans needed good music more than ever to heal from the effects of the Great Depression. I actually worked the man who provided this relief: Rubinoff and His Violin. It was not until the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 that the effects of a declining economy were felt. A major worldwide economic downturn ensued. The stock market crash marked the beginning of a decade of:
Lost opportunities for economic growth. Lack of opportunities for personal advancement.
Altogether, there was a general loss of confidence in the economic future.
David Rubinoff and His Violin provided the relief that good music had to offer. This was on Broadway and in Hollywood. Thanks a Million is one of the movies he appeared in. Usually he was behind the scenes conducting the orchestra. Literally, Dave made millions of dollars during the Great Depression. Here is the theme of the movie, Thanks a Million.
A show troupe is engaged by Judge Culliman, who is running for Governor. Its purpose was to enhance his political campaign. When the inebriated Judge has to be replaced in doing his campaign speech by the troupe crooner, Eric Land. Then his political backers decide that they want him to run for Governor in the Judge’s place. Romance, music, political corruption and the election results follow.
Recently I gave a concert in Colombus, Ohio (Circleville area). I played with violinist Steven Greenman. Joseph Rubin conducted an elite orchestra. It included top professors of music from the finest Ohio universities.
I worked with this giant of music for some 15 years. Thanks to the miracles of mass media and youtube, you can now witness this concert. In addition to a lecture, I played an arrangement I made with the Great Rubinoff: Youtube selections are from the Fiddler on the Roof. Enjoy!
Countless Opportunities Appeared in Difficult Times. I’m referring to the Great Depression era: The early 1930’s. Conductor, violinist, composer David Rubinoff took it to the limit. Let’s begin with the The Chase and Sanborn Hour. It was a radio show umbrella title for a series. It included US comedy and variety radio shows. The half-hour to one hour show was sponsored by Standard Brands‘ Chase and Sanborn Coffee. It usually aired Sundays on NBC from 8 pm to 9 pm during the years 1929 to 1948. Violinist David Rubinoff (September 13, 1897 – October 6, 1986) became a regular in January 1931. He was introduced as “Rubinoff and His Violin.”
Countless Opportunities Included Concerts and Mass Media
Joseph Rubin, curator of the Ted Lewis Big Band Museum, contacted me for a lecture. This was last June 2, 2018 at the Circleville High School. He had read on our website, DSOworks.com, I worked with Rubinoff for 15 some years. I had been blogging about my professional association with this master conductor/violinist/ composer. Below are a couple of internal links. He graciously asked me to give a lecture about our association. Joseph also arranged for me to perform some of my arrangements with Rubinoff with violin maestro Steven Greenman.
Dave Rubinoff’s success didn’t stop with the Chase and Sandborn Hour. He was also the orchestral conductor of the Paramount Theater in New York. He conducted for Parmount Pictures in Hollywood. He gave spectacular concerts. These included one for 225,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago. What made Rubinoff rich? Times were difficult. How could one acquire wealth? The public needed the comfort that beautiful, quality music offered. He took advantage of the countless opportunities the times presented in this regard. This is good news for serious musicians. We need comforting and beautiful music once more. Please keep checking this website. Big events are in the making. `
Hobnobbing with Giants of of the 1930’s. David Rubinoff is the conductor in this most rare featured 1933 picture. Benny Goodman is the 2nd saxophonist from the right. It is offered by the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville. For the best time of your life, visit this museum. Please support the museum. All donations are tax deductible. They are keeping our wonderful, American, big band tradition alive. My connection: I was Rubinoff’s personal arranger and accompanist for 15 years. We started our association in 1971. I was a senior in the music program at Wayne State University at that time. Currently, I hold a Master of Music degree from Wayne State.
Now a Drum Roll, Please, for the Hobnobbing
Joseph Rubin is the curator of the big band, Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville. He sponsored me to be part of a special Rubinoff and His Violin commemoration concert. My Rubinoff association association lasted until 1986. That is the year he passed away. The Circleville, Rubinoff event was this last June 2, 2018. I was asked to deliver a half-hour lecture on Rubinoff. Also, I played piano for Rubinoff’s favorite arrangement. We made it together. It highlights a selection of numbers from The Fiddler on the Roof. Click the link below. Even to this day, as you will hear, the audience still responds with wild enthusiasm. Maestro Steven Greenman masterfully plays the violin.
Hobnobbing with the Greats in Show Business
For this post I even have a featured story. Rubinoff personally related it to me. It is also documented in his book: Dance of the Russian Peasant. The book was dictated to his last wife, Darlene. The story involves Rubinoff , Benny Goodman and Ted Lewis. They were part of a benefit concert in San Francisco. This was the early 1930’s. The trio went marching through the hotel lobby on route to the elevator. They were dressed to the nines. Ted Lewis was sporting his famous hat and cane. All the way they were singing “Me and My Shadow.” Dave Rubinoff said: “The guests loved our shananigans. We had lots of fun in those days.”
More will be posted in the near future. Please, feel free to share this post. Ted Lewis expressed an innermost wish with his famous expression: “ Is everybody happy? Just below is a link to the Ted Lewis Museum. Also, let the distinguished curator, Joseph Rubin, know about your interest. Finally, underneath the museum link is another link. It has yet another Rubinoff story, only posted on our own DSOworks website.
Glamorous Past Found in Glamorous Music of Rubinoff. Rubinoff was one of my primary mentors. Under him I learned the art of arranging. Arranging “involves adding compositional techniques. This includes new thematic material for introductions, transitions, or modulations, and endings. . . . Arranging is the art of giving an existing melody musical variety”. Rubinoff always had access to the finest arrangers. He conducted the orchestras at the New York and Brooklyn Paramount Theaters. He also conducted for Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. This was in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. In the featured picture he is billed with Rudy Vallee at the Brooklyn Paramount. Rubinoff is on the right pillar. Rudy Vallee, on the left. Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich are centered between on the movie poster. Rubinoff chummed with all the stars. Yet surprisingly so few today have heard of him.
I was called by Maestro Joseph Rubin. The purpose was to perform at his Rubinoff and His Violin concert. It was sponsored by the Ted Lewis Museum. Can you imagine? More than 30 years after passing away, Dave Rubinoff is still doing favors for me? He was the grandfather I never got to know. Both the orchestral conductor and museum curator is Joseph Rubin. Master folk violinist, Steven Greenman, is the soloist. They are both pictured below with the orchestra. Above on youtube Steve and I are playing the arrangement I made with Rubinoff. It was our violin/piano arrangement of the Fiddler on the Roof. Date of creation was the mid 1970’s. Now, for the 1st time, you can listen to it on the youtube link posted above. The concert was videoed live at the Circleville High School in Circleville Ohio. If you would like to help the cause help of good music, please feel free to share this post with friends!
Also, see my internal link below. It has a concert on youtube I gave it with Rubinoff in New York’s Catskill Mountains. He was 86 years of age at the time. You will learn facts about American musical history never before recorded. It also illuminates our glamorous past. He liked to speak to the audience at his concerts. His best friend, Will Rogers, taught him how to “break the 4th wall”. To my knowledge this is a most “rare concert recording”. Possibly it is the only record is existence of a full Rubinoff concert. `
Busy Making Millions During the Great Depression. That’s what a violinist I worked with was doing. My picture with him is on the lower right corner on the program. The program also has pictures (from upper left to right) of him with Fritz Kreisler, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, and Bing Crosby. Dave holds the record for concert attendance. 225,000 at Grant Park in Chicago. That was in the year 1937. Rubinoff proudly asserted: “They turned away another 25,000 at the door.”
He also conducted the orchestra for the Paramount Theater and Paramount Pictures. His stage name was Rubinoff and His Violin. His name is featured above on the movie marquee. Thanks a Million is a 1935 musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Roy Del Ruth. It stars Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak and Fred Allen. Musicians featured were Patsy Kelly, David Rubinoff,Paul Whiteman and his band with singer/pianist Ramona. That movie was featured just before a concert I gave. It is mentioned on the picture above. The entire event commemorated his memory.The orchestra was conducted by Maestro Joseph Rubin. Maestro Steven Greenman was the violinist I accompanied. Before the concert I gave a lecture on my association with Dave Rubinoff.
So Why Have So Few Today Heard of Him if He was Busy Making Millions?
I think the answer is resentment. Also, everyone was jealous. The average musician was struggling to make a living. Especially during the Great Depression. Rubinoff was a perfectionist. He was adamant in his interpretations. He was incredibly precise. This created even more resentment and jealousy. Just listen to the youtube sample below. As a matter a fact, listen to everything available about Rubinoff and learn. I think the picture below speaks miles. Regardless, I am honored to have my photo with Rubinoff in the Ted Lewis Museum. The museum is an outstanding tourist attraction.