Full musical lifetime

Archiving an Unknown Great Violinist- by youtube

Archiving an Unknown Great Violinist- by youtube. The featured picture presents a great violinist to modern America: Many have never heard of Rubinoff and his Violin. This will change.  I promise. He chummed around with top, musical artists from the turn of the 20th century.

Let the Archiving Begin!

For openers, Victor Herbert personally brought him, with his family, to America. By co-incidence, he heard Rubinoff play his graduation recital at the Warsaw Conservatory. Herbert said: “Son, you belong to America.” Herbert was then the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  John Philip Sousa met him at one of Herbert’s parties.  On the lecture link below is a picture of the American March King with Rubinoff. He arranged for him to play for children all over America. For this purpose, Sousa got a special grant from the United States State Department. Dave Rubinoff then took his fabulous music to the public schools. He blessed children of America with great music for the rest of his live. Often the schools where he played were in remote, rustic settings. However, these lucky youngsters had the pleasure and benefit of great music.

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Rubinoff & His Violin Lecture by David Ohrenstein – YouTube

20 hours ago – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein

Pianist and composer David Ohrenstein shares his experiences as the arranger for Rubinoff and His Violin, a …

 So how do I tie into the Rubinoff Archiving Scene?

The story of how this happened is almost beyond belief. The key person was museum curator- Maestro Joseph Rubin. He oversees the Ted Lewis Big Band Museum in Circleville, Ohio. This outstanding personage had read some of my Rubinoff posts on my website: DSOworks.com.  The museum was sponsoring a Rubinoff concert. Main stage was a 28-piece orchestra. It was comprised of the finest professors of music from leading Ohio universities.  I was asked to participate both as a lecturer and performer. The reason: I both arranged  and accompanied Dave for some 15 years.

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So What’s So Special About the Archiving on the Rubinoff Lecture

My incredible daughter, Kathryn, assembled an extremely important piece of American musicana for youtube. She posted it after countless hours of hard work.  It features Americana pictures never published before.

Beautiful music is about to make a major comeback. Below is a second youtube sample. Maestro Steven Greenman and I perform the Rubinoff/Ohrenstein arrangement of Fiddler on the Roof. So: Sit down. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Have a Rubinoff youtube slug-fest. Please share this with everyone. Help good, solid,enjoyable, and  melodic music make a comeback.

David Ohrenstein Archives – DSO Works

Archiving Rubinoff and His Violin
Violinist Steven Greenman and pianist David Ohrenstein in concert.

Richard Addinsell with Rubinoff and His Violin

Richard Addinsell With Rubinoff and His Violin

Richard Addinsell With Rubinoff and His Violin. I worked for over 15 years with violin maestro, David Rubinoff. Dave was a man with passion plus. This was not only for music, but for life. Dave was born into extreme poverty in Kiev, Russia. The year was 1897. Violin was his ticket to success. How did his success transpire? Victor Herbert was on sabbatical in Warsaw, Poland. He heard  David play a student recital at the Warsaw Conservatory. Paderewski was the headmaster.

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Polish pianist, Ignace Paderewski, head of the Warsaw Conservatory,

Here’s the tie in with the Richard Addinsell: Warsaw was close to Rubinoff’s heart. Dave loved the sentiment and music of the Warsaw Concerto.  The music was composed a British film:  Dangerous Moonlight. The subject is the Polish struggle against the 1939 invasion by Nazis. One of Dave’s most memorable moments is in the featured picture. He consulted with the  Addinsell for his violin/piano arrangement. I will be playing piano from the same Rubinoff score this winter. Management just rebuilt their vintage Steinway grand at the Gasparilla Inn. The finest parts were ordered from Germany. It is situated in the dining room. Hear me play it. I am booked at the Inn by the Jay Goodley Group in Sarasota. My contract is 6 nights weekly from Christmas to Easter.

Herbert Places Rubinoff on the Path to Success that also Led Him to Meet with Richard Addinsell

Victor Herbert declared, “Son, you belong to America.” He brought young David and his entire family to the United States. David apprenticed with Victor Herbert in Pittsburgh. Herbert was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic. Rubinoff apprenticed his musical art with his benefactor. Dave told me countless stories about Herbert’s Sunday musical get togethers. Dave, for a while actually resided with Victor Herbert. He was able to socialize with John Phillip Sousa, the great tenor-Carouso, Andrew Carnegie…Sousa told Rubinoff to take good music to the public schools. Years later, Dave and I (Dave Ohrenstein) did this throughout the Sarasota area.

Victor August Herbert (February 1, 1859 – May 26, 1924) was an Irish-born, German-raised American composercellist and conductor. Although Herbert enjoyed important careers as a cello soloist and conductor, he is best known for composing many successful operettas.  Many premiered on Broadway from the 1890s to World War I. He was also prominent among the tin pan alley composers.  Later he was a founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

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Imagine living and apprenticing with this great composer/conductor Victor Herbert.  Cover from The Fortune Teller.

By the way, Rubinoff told me about how Victor Herbert composed while standing by his lectern. I guess conductors are used to standing. Keep checking DSOworks.com for new posts. By the way, a have 1 or 2 openings for piano students in Sarasota.


Commemeration concert

Melodies Linger and Last Like all Good Things

Melodies Linger and Last Like all Good Things. A pleasant memory always stays with you. So does a beautiful melody. Beautiful melodies give rise to whistling or even humming.  The whistler feels the need to outwardly express the tune within. Now I ask my reader: When is the last time you heard someone whistling. When I grew up in the 1950’s everyone seemingly whistled. This was true at a bus stop, in a drugstore or just by random pedestrians. I would go so far as to even say that  whistling is a sign of a happy civilization.

Rubinoff Fell in Love With Beautiful Melodies

The violinist I worked with, Rubinoff, (featured picture) was good friends with Irving Berlin. He met Irving Berlin at soirees given on Sunday evenings by Victor Herbert, then conductor of the Pittsburg Symphony. At the time, beautiful melodies captured the imagination of the American public (circa 1910). So did the new fad, ragtime. Comparing the two styles he told Rubinoff: “Ruby, melodic music goes from your head straight to your heart. Ragtime goes straight from your head to your feet”. Berlin and Rubinoff loved both typres of music. Rubinoff said time and time again about countless melodies: “That’s the most beautiful melody I ever heard.” When he saw a beautiful girl, he would say the same. Here is an excerpt of lyrics from a song by Irving Berlin that also expresses this dual love relationship. It is Berlin’s A PRETTY GIRL IS LIKE A MELODY

A pretty girl is like a melody
That haunts you night and day

Just like the strain of a haunting refrain
She’ll start upon a marathon
And run around your brain

You can’t escape, she’s in your memory
By morning, night and noon

She will leave you and then come back again
A pretty girl is just like a pretty tune

I was also told a quatrain on Oquaga Lake. It is from my poetry book, The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. The American Indians loved the lake. It is all about how in difficult and challenging  times, melody gives a feeling of solidity.

Time is just like music
Do not play too fast.
Speed burns too quickly,
While melodies linger and last.

Irving Berlin's summer residence was a short distance down the road on Lou Beach.
Melodies waft across the lake from Scotts Oquaga Lake House


Best musical event will take place June 2, 2018

Taking Stock of What You Have

Taking Stock of What You Have. Are these words familiar? They come from Irving Berlin’s musical, Annie Get Your Gun. The song iis “I Got the Sun in the Morning.” The sentiment is you have everything when you have the Sun in the morning and the Moon at night. In the song Annie Oakley assess her life. She lists what she lacks. Then she takes stock of what she has. The conclusion:She has ” A healthy balance on the credit side.” The song on youtube with the Broadway star, Ethel Merman, will make you happy.


 The lost concert by this grand master lasts about 45 minutes. It is filled with previously untold stories about musical personalities. My daughter recently took the time and trouble and posted it. Enjoy!
 Victor Herbert brought Rubinoff to America in 1911. I worked with Rubinoff for some 20 years as his arranger and accompanist. “Ruby” lived with Victor Herbert. At the time Victor Herbert was the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Every Sunday, Herbert had soirees at this home in Pittsburgh. Famous people from all over the country would come to these parties. There, Rubinoff met Irving Berlin. Berlin told Rubinoff, Americans love the new sound of jazz. They love music because it goes from the heart to the feet. The long haired music goes from the heart to the head. That Sunday night Rubinoff could not fall asleep. He kept saying to himself; “Americans like jazz”. He stayed up all night and wrote “Fiddling the Fiddle.” First thing the next morning he calls Irving Berlin up. He immediately wanted to see him. Berlin told him over the phone, not today, Ruby. I’m too busy. Rubinoff said, then I’ll play it over the phone for you. Berlin said, “Okay.” Berlin published it. Fiddlin’ the Fiddle sold over a million copies. Enjoy us playing it on youtube with the other exciting selections. We played it live at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in the Catskills in 1984. You can hear a tremendous thunderstorm in the background. By the way, my lyricist, bookwriter wife, Sharon Lesley escorts him and his 2 million dollar Stradivarius violin on and off the stage. Also, check out our original and unique musicals and the products page. They finally fit the tempo of the times. We are looking for a producer. Thank you-David.
Irving Berlin divulges the secret of happiness.
ETHEL MERMAN sings I’ve Got The Sun In The Morning from Annie Get Your Gun live 1966 4:21

Nietzsche Loved Carmen by Bizet Over Wagner

Nietzsche Loved Carmen by Bizet Over Wagner. Alfred Einstein, in his Music in the Romantic Era, gives  the following quote by Nietzsche about Bizet’s Carmen: “It is rich. It is precise. It builds, organizes, gets finished: therein it establishes a contrast to the excrescence in music, the “infinite melody.” Nietzsche stated that Bizet was in fact refreshing and  southern music, that allows a person to take leave of the damp North (referring to Wagner’ s music). He further declared that Bizet, who he loved, was the antithesis of Wagner. Whereas Bizet in Carmen used a closed form, Wagner went on and on with his motifs, seemingly forever. I personally find this amusing because so many have bound Nietzsche’s philosophy with Wagner’s music which often presents musical motifs on a seemingly endless scale. .

Publicity shots for the Carmen revival at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, in January 1915, with Enrico Caruso and Geraldine Farrar. Caruso is centre in the upper row, Farrar top left and bottom right.


I had the honor of arranging and accompanying”David Rubinoff and His Violin”.  He told me the following story involving the great tenor, Caruso (picture above) and Mme. Schumann-Heink, “the greatest contra-alto singer”, possibly of all time: Victor Herbert brought Rubinoff and his family to America in 1911. Herbert heard Rubinoff playing a recital at the Warsaw Conservatory, then  under the leadership of Paderewski. He said to Rubinoff, who was 13 years of age at the time, “son, you belong to America.” Rubinoff told me the story of how Victor Herbert, then conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, had Sunday soirees at his residence in Pittsburgh.  Caruso and Mme. Schumann-Heink were among the famous regular guests. They would sing opera duets while Herbert played the cello and Rubinoff played the violin. They would often sing and play selections from Carmen. Herbert, by the way, loved to both compose and orchestrate his own music while standing up byusing a tall dresser that he used for writing.


In conclusion, I believe that George Bizet knew that he had a super hit on his hands with Carmen. Even the great Johannes Brahms told his publisher, Simrock in June of 1882, to please send him the score to Carmen. He declared he loved it more than any other of the works in Simrock’s catalogue, including, wrote Brahms, his own. Unfortunately, as happens with so many composers, Bizet never lived to see its  ultimate triumph. He died of illness three months after its opening at age 36.  May I suggest getting a recording of the great piano virtuoso, V. Horowitz playing it. He made an amazing arrangement of hit songs from the score.


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