Violin cases created a sensation

Violin Cases Create a Sensation for Rubinoff

Violin cases created a sensation for Rubinoff. I (blogger David) will be giving a lecture and concert about a composer/conductor/violinist and Hollywood Movie star I worked with. The date is June 2, 2018. It will be at the High School in Circleville ,Ohio. His stage name was Rubinoff and His Violin. He had a talent for being sensational. Even with violin cases.  He made a fortune conducting and playing violin: As much as $500,000.00 annually. Wealth came to him at the peak of the Great Depression. So what made him rich? Two internal links are below will explain his rise to fame. The 1st is about the upcoming Circleville, Ohio festivities that will honor him.  Click on the 2nd for a youtube sample of Rubinoff of how Rubinoff dazzled Hollywood.  His violin wizardry speaks for itself.

Image result for pictures of Rubinoff on DSOworks.comA poor Russian as a youth, he acquired riches and fame through mastery of the  violin.

Commemoration Concert for Rubinoff and His Violin – DSO Works

Rubinoff and His Violin Concert – June 2, 2018 – YouTube

(also click on Rubinoff and His Violin youtube, The Music Shop. You will see the official seal of the Russian empire in diamonds and rubies on the crest of the violin. Dave plays “Flight of the Bumblebee.”)

 violin cases can also hide things other than violins.
A street gang thought Rubinoff’s  older violin case was hiding a machine gun- not a Stradivarius! They carefully avoided us.

Story I –  How Violin Cases Saves Us From Harm

We’d go to a deli for lunch. It was a blustery wintry day. Dave was wearing a godfather coat and hat. He was so preoccupied humming a tune, he didn’t even bother buttoning the coat. This particular violin case was in sad shape. Yet, it held a 2 million dollar Stradivarius. I saw a gang of about 12 young men walking toward us. At that time they were about 1½ blocks away. As soon as they noticed the violin case, the entire gang jay walked across the street to avoid us. Most likely, they thought Rubinoff looked like an old hit man that never got hit.

Story II- The 2nd of the Violin Cases Was an Alligator Skin

Until his last year Dave and I played school assemblies for children in the public schools. One was a performance for a chamber orchestra in the Venice, Fl Public Schools. When we made our entrance, everyone was taken by the alligator violin case. Some children could have cared less about the priceless violin. For them, the case said it all. To relive those days in Circleville is priceless. Buy your tickets now!

Banned Music was part of the politics

Banned Music in Old Russia is Featured Our Operetta

Banned Music in  Old Russia is Featured Our Operetta. Wife Sharon and myself (David) wrote a musical.  Once titled Elizabeth of Russia.  Half Peasant – Half Royal is the new name.  We had a marvelous costumed staged reading in Sarasota Florida at the Players Theater.  Below are YouTube videos: The entire cast sings the Drinking Song  (since,more universal lyrics have been penned).  In 1740, ethnic Russian music was banned from court.  As an act of rebellion against the ruling regime, Elizabeth brings in the following entertainment:  The Dance of the Cossacks – performed by principle dancers from the Sarasota Ballet.  And, Dance of The Russian Peasant played on a Stradivarius flown in from Houston.  The link below has composer Rubinoff and his Violin playing that piece.  Sharon wrote the book and lyrics. I wrote the music.  It is copyrighted.

Elizabeth of Russia – Drinking Song – YouTube
Dec 17, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s Elizabeth of Russia follows in the tradition of the great Broadway hits South Pacific …

Elizabeth of Russia – Dance of the Cossacks – YouTubeÊ
Sep 4, 2007 – Uploaded by Rudder3218

Lesley and Ohrenstein’s Elizabeth of Russia follows in the tradition of the great Broadway hits South Pacific …

But first, with regards to the featured medallion picture:   This medallion is dated and signed on the back by Gregory Musikiiskii, the first Russian painter of portrait miniatures. It can be compared to an earlier enamel painting of Peter the Great with his family, now in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, executed by the same artists in 1717. Here, the Russian emperor is depicted together with his wife Catherine, his three daughters Anna, Elizabeth (the future empress and subject of our musical. She is reclining on  her mother.) and Natalia, and his grandson Peter (the future Peter II). Musikiiskii was transferred from the Moscow Kremlin Armory to St. Petersburg to work for the court of Peter the Great, the founder of modern Russia.

What About the Banned Music in Old Russia?

Our new title unravels and hopefully will solve the problems we had with our production.  Elizabeth of Russia, in fact, was half peasant and half royal. She fell in love with a peasant. He was reputed to have one of the most magnificent singing voices in Russia at the time. Unfortunately, the combination of the two together made them 3/4 peasant and 1/4 royal. So what was the problem with Russian secular music?

  • Early czars considered secular music to be a highly suspicious activity. Weapons could easily be hidden in instrumental cases.
  • Thus, no musical instruments of any sort were allowed in church or at court.
  • They instructed peasants to stop singing folk songs. Common people, of course, are the source of folk songs.
  • Troubadours (travelling minstrel singers) were forbidden in old Russia. The czars worried that they would sing seditious songs.
  • Thus, for the ruling elite, the act of Elizabeth falling in love with  “lowborn peasant singer” was unacceptable.

In violation of the above, a case enclosed an authentic Stradivarius violin is brought and is played on stage at a court party.  It has the official crest of the Russian empire. It is set with diamonds and rubies.  The theatrical audience went wild with excitement.  How did we come by it? I worked with Rubinoff and His Violin. His widow, Dame Darlene Rubinoff, flew the violin from Houston. It was the Stradivarius that had previously belonged to Czar Nicholas II. Now for the first time, enjoy Rubinoff himself playing his featured violin solo, Dance of the Russian Peasant. Pictures in this youtube background highlight both his life and his friendship with Sharon and myself. Feel free to share this special post with with friends. We are looking to do a full production.

Rubinoff and his Violin – Dance of the Russian Peasant – YouTube



Popular Concerts with Rubinoff and His Violin

Popular concerts were once looked down upon. Then came men like David Rubinoff and His Violin.  He made as much as $500,000.00 a year in the 1930’s as a violinist.  His specialty was playing popular music, but with a classical flare. I personally worked on many arrangements with him in the 70s and 80s. In the featured blog picture, I brought Rubinoff  to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the 80s. That entire approximately 45 minute concert is on  It is a free thumbnail for listening on the 1st page.


Rubinoff had another specialty: He loved America and shared his love for our country with children in public schools. As a matter of fact, John Phillip Sousa and Will Rogers inspired him to go in this direction.  Over the years, I’ve met many adults that had heard Rubinoff at their school. They all said the same thing. He inspired them to do wonderful things with their lives. At every assembly he would say to the children: Your lives are precious. They are like my Stradivarius violin. But you have to work your life the same way I practice my violin.  The violin without a maestro’s touch is almost useless.  His playing was so inspiring that the children listened to him. When  little Mark Azar came home and told his mother how wonderful this violinist was, mother and then widow Darlene Azar was very surprised: “How could a rough and tumble little boy suddenly love violin music?”, she thought. They went to his concert in Colombus, Ohio. Darlene not only fell in love with the music, she fell in love with the man,. The rest, of course is history. I will always be thankful that afterwards Darlene accepted me as part of her family.

Below is a sample of Rubinoff going smoothly from a popular style piece into Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee. His expression, precision and speed are incredible.

Rubinoff and his Violin – The Music Shop – YouTube


Commemeration concert

Megaconcert given by violinist Rubinoff for 225,000 people

Megaconcert given by violinist Rubinoff for 225,00 people. I worked with this classical/popular violinist for abut 20 years.  He holds the world’s record for attendance at a concert. I was his arranger and accompanist. He told me his secret on how he built this large audience. The year was 1937. To get acquainted with him, view this youtube video. This wonderful treat was just posted by conductor Joseph Rubin. Click on the picture to be transported to a world of fun and beauty. This kind and thoughtful man has been encouraging me to share more Rubinoff stories. Rubinoff’s  piece, Fiddlin’ the Fiddle was published by Irving Belin. It sold a million copies almost immediately. Click on the picture below to hear Rubinoff play his nationwide best seller. Then, to hear him play 50 years later with myself at the piano , visit Click on the thumbnail, “Lost Concert Found.” It was videoed during a thunderstorm in the Catskill Mountains at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House.  At age 86 he still had the magic.

A year after Rubninoff's megaconcert his name is magic everywhere in the country he loves, America.
Enjoy Rubinoff’s Fiddlin’ the Fiddle. He and I also played it in New York-see It is on a front page thumbnail.


An priceless medallion was given to Rubinoff  by Jimmy Petrillo, the “czar” of the Chicago Federation of Musicians. It holds an 18kt gold violin. It is encrusted with diamonds and rubies. On the back is the insciption:

“Presented to Rubinoff and His Violin
The Chicago Federation of Musicians
For services rendered at Grant Park
Chicago. August 3, 1937,
Attendance 225,000”

Rubinoff, about his megaconcert would add: “They turned away 25,000 at the door.” Here is today’s Rubinoff story. In a future blog I will write about his most unique marketing stategy. Back to Florida: We gave a concert for the junior orchestra at Venice Middle School. Dave always wanted children to have enrichment through music. We did our concert gratis.


Rubinoff had an alligator skin. For years he wanted to make it into a cover for his violin case. No one in the U.S. could or would touch the project. At that time alligator hunting was illegal. Then he got an idea: He sent it to the finest tailor craftman in Germany. Indeed, the alligator skin was made into a masterpiece. What happned at the Venice Concert? The moment Rubinoff and I made our entrance, every child was silent. They all looked with big eyes at the fins on his alligator case. He pulled the Strad out. By the way, the Stradiavrius violin belonged to Czar Nicholas II of Russia. The violin had the offical seal of the Russian empire encrusted in diamonds and rubies on the finger board.  However, the fact that the violin was valued at 2 million dollars meant nothing to the kids. They were totally taken up with the alligator case. Without playing one note on his violin, he won their respect. The conclusion is “kids will be kids”. I think this blog is family friendly. Please feel free to share it. Let Rubinoff  continue to inspire children to become all that they can be. Our email is DSOworks at  Keep checking. Many more “Rubinoff” stories are in the making. -David



Prop Up the Periodic Chart

Prop Up the Periodic Chart:

“I saw in a dream a table where all elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper, only in one place did a correction later seem necessary., as quoted by Inostrantzev[22][23] .    

The 9×9 number square which defines the “ash” of nuclear fission

Good Heavens! That was well over 100 years ago. Things change. New insights are added. Here’s one with reference to the magic number squares of 5 x 5 and 9 x 9. First, the 5 x 5:
  • The Sun fuses lighter elements to make heavier elements. Hydrogen is fused in the first wave to make Helium. Then comes Ccarbon. Elements are fused up to iron, atomic number 26; .  Iron is called the ash of nuclear fusion. That’s as far as the heat fusion goes on a star.  When enough iron accumulates, pressures that result become so greater that the star explodes which is able to fuse the heavier elements. Since the ash of nuclear fusion is iron-26, the 5 x 5 square is its representative. Any two opposite numbers on this square total 26 as 17 + 9; 5 + 21; 12 + 14 etc.
  • Lead is called the ash of nuclear fission. Elements heavier than lead (Pb) 82 emit particles until Pb82 is reached. If you look at the 9 x 9 number square any two opposite numbers total 82. Thus, by proton number the perimeter of fusion is defined by the 5 x 5 number square; while the perimeter of fission is defined by the 9 x 9 number square.
  • If 26 is taken as the diameter of a circle; 82 is a close approximately of its circumference as 82/26 =3.1538… Not bad for working with whole numbers.
  • Finally, thinking like the “primitive” ancients, in Hebrew gematria (equation of letters and numbers with no separate number system) Yahweh equals 26 with the Hebrew letters for yud, hei, vav, hei . Therefore, if God(26) is the span or diameter of the elements; the circle of stable elements is defined by the 82 circumference number derived from the number of non- radioactive lead.


Do you think the above number squares can prop up the periodic chart? If not, there will be more blogging on this subject. Oh yes. If you are into culture, I’ve been posting our musical shows on the products page with spectacular entertainment that include  Russian folk dancing by a major, world class  ballet company; and Rubinoff playing his  1731 Stradivarius violin in concert in New York with me, He was 86 years of age at the time and the full 41 minute concert is on a thumbnail. We are looking for sponsors,  agents and venues for our shows. Over decades of hard work, we have come up quite short on our resources.   Enjoy our thumbnails and product page on, and our best for a happy New Year.

2011-05-15 13.16.25



The story of how the Russian folk dancing by the Sarasota Ballet began in our musical, Elizabeth of Russia, goes back to a book that seemingly popped off a shelf decades ago. Wife Sharon was walking through Brant’s Used Book Store in Sarasota, Florida.  A book presented itself to her. The book was about Elizabeth of Russia, daughter of Peter the Great. Although she immediately wrote wrote a rough draft for the play, the idea then sat dormant in her mind for twenty years: After all, Russia, at that time, was called by some, “the evil empire” (viva la Star Wars). Finally, the Berlin wall came crashing down.  Sharon conferred with husband David. They teamed up and wrote the story, words, lyrics, and music. As a result, Elizabeth of Russia,  their first their joint musical, was born.  Elizabeth was not power crazed. She turned the throne down on several occasions, and just wanted to be with the man she loved- who was low born.  As a result, we are thinking of renaming the musical: The Princess and the Peasant.

Elizabeth of Russia saw its world premier at Players of Sarasota Theatre.  It had over 30 actors. The principle dancers of the Sarasota Ballet were employed.  Their incredible performance can be viewed in the thumb video above.  The dancers were a gift from a prominent Sarasota doctor.  On the initial date of this blog, it has had over 12,000 hits.

The sold out premiere also featured Rubinoff’s Stradivarius violin.  It was then played by Damaeon Pegis, a member of the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra. Rubinoff purchased the Strad in 1929 for $100,00,00. Today, some say it could be worth up to 5 million. The Strad, made in 1729, belonged to Czar Nicholas II.  It has the official crest and seal of Czarist Russia on the finger board. The crest, of course,  is set with diamonds and rubies. The history of the violin possibly parallels the recent hit movie, The Red Violin:  It has been speculated that it could have been in the same vicinity as Czar Nicolas II when he was assassinated.

Maestro David Rubinoff and David Ohrenstein performing live at Scotts Oquaga Lake House in Summer 1984



Since Rubinoff had past away, I had then had access to his violin through his kind and wonderful widow, Dame Darlene Rubinoff. She flew in with it from Houston . Check out my blogs on this website about the Rubinoffs.  Also, I posted a live concert that Dave and I gave in New York. At the time of the video, in 1984, he was 86 years old. The full concert is on the thumb video above. Don’t miss it.  I worked over 20 as Rubinoff’s arranger and accompanist. Right after he plays the first two notes, you know you are in the hands of a great master.

Elizabeth of Russia was then chosen to be an official event for the joint centennial celebrations of St. Petersburg Florida and St Petersburg Russia. They are sister cities.  The event happened at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg Fl.  Amy Schwarz- Morretti, at that time principle violinist with the Florida Orchestra, dazzled sold out houses by playing Rubinoff’s Dance of the Russia Peasant. She wanted to play the Stradivarius with such a passion that even though she was double booked on one of the nights; she left her nearby concert during intermission and had a waiting taxi by the back door of Symphony Hall. Then she was shuttled to the Palladium Theatre.  She played the violin. Then great maestro ran out its back door of the Palladium to her waiting taxi cab as the audience gave her a roaring, standing ovation.  Of course with her excellent musical timing, she made it back to the Florida Orchestra with time to spare, and masterfully played the 2nd half of the other concert. I will never get over thinking what a Stradivarius in the hands of a great master can do!

commemorative concert to be given in Circleville, Ohio

Unearthing a Lost Concert of “Rubinoff and His Violin” After 30 Years


Unearthing a Lost Concert of “Rubinoff and His Violin”

Unearthing a Lost Concert of “Rubinoff and His Violin”After 30 Years. The year 1984 is not so far past; but the man playing the Stradivarius violin, David Rubinoff, was born in 1897. How I came to be his arranger and accompanist is quite a story.

In begins in 1911  when Victor Herbert, famed conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and writer of operettas, was on a Sabbatical and touring Europe. It was at the Warsaw Conservatory of Music that Herbert heard a young Rubinoff playing his composition: Dance of the Russian Peasant. Without hesitation Herbert said: “Son, you belong to America.” And so, Victor Herbert brought him and his entire family back to the United States. Rubinoff  lived with Herbert who then placed him in the center of American cultural life. He was introduced to such notables as John Phillip Sousa,  the great tenor, Caruso, and others at the Sunday brunches held in his home.  I have had the honor of working with the Maestro Rubinoff since 1970.


To transition to this concert given at Scott’s Hotel in Deposit, New York; my wife, Sharon Lesley, and I have had quite a history concert touring together. We have been at Scotts during the summer months since 1983. I asked Ray Scott if I could invite Rubinoff and his wife to the hotel, and he jumped at the chance. Some 30 years later the Scotts have just now found the recording of our concert. Now you can hear, through youtube, why Victor Herbert insisted that Rubinoff belonged to America. At an actual performance at age 86 he will play the Dance of the Russian Peasant  and also with me, a beautiful approximately 45 minute concert of some of our arrangements. If you feel about the music as I do, you will believe you are witnessing a miracle.Continue reading

Elizabeth of Russia


Elizabeth of Russia, it all goes back to a book that seemingly popped off a shelf decades ago as wife- Sharon walked through Brant’s Used Book Store in Sarasota, Florida.  She felt a special destiny in that moment. The book was about Elizabeth of Russia, the daughter of Peter the Great. However, although she wrote her book after some initial research, the idea sat dormant in her mind.  Some twenty plus years later, Sharon then met with her husband David, a composer, began collaborating on the project, and Elizabeth of Russia was born.Continue reading