Oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein

Oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein [Sound recording 01] Oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein [Sound recording 02]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 9340

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein


  • 1978-08-16 (Creation)


0.1 cubic feet; 1 audiocassette (45 min., 39 sec.)

Name of creator

Biographical history

Ariel Alfred Rubstein, né Rubshteyn, was born in what is now Kiev, Ukraine, in 1899 or 1901. He and a sister, born two years apart, were registered as twins after his birth. Rubstein was never certain whether his birth year was 1899 or 1901, but used 1901 on official documents. As a child, he studied music at the Kiev Conservatory. In 1919, he left Kiev during the Russian Revolution. He traveled first to Constantinople, Turkey (now Istanbul), and applied for a visa to the United States. It was denied, and he spent the next several years traveling and playing music in Europe. Eventually, he received word that his visa had been approved, and he arrived in New York, New York, in 1922. He spent the next 14 years as a concert pianist and music instructor in New York. In 1936, he relocated to Portland, Oregon. The next year, he and Margaret Eleanor Reed were married; they later had three children. He was director of the Portland School of Music and helped to develop the Opera in the Park program. He founded the Portland Civic Opera and West Coast Opera Theater. In 1959, he founded Celebrity Attractions, which produced concerts, operas, and musicals in Portland. He died in 1997.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein was conducted by Charles Digregorio in Portland, Oregon, on August 16, 1978, as part of the Oregon Historical Society's oral history program.

In this interview, Rubstein discusses leaving Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine), during the Russian Revolution and his journey to Portland, Oregon. He talks about playing music in Constantinople, Turkey (now Istanbul), and in Berlin, Germany, while awaiting approval for his U.S. visa. He then talks about his career in music in Portland, Oregon, including his work with the Portland School of Music, developing the Opera in the Park program, and producing concerts, operas, and musicals through his business, Celebrity Attractions. He closes the interview by reflecting on his accomplishments and by talking about his future musical plans.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and the estate of Ariel Rubstein. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted, http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

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Finding aids

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Custodial history

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Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

An additional interview with Ariel Rubstein, SR 438, is also held by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Ariel Rubstein, by Charles Digregorio, SR 9340, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

An incomplete transcript (11 pages) is available for in-person use at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.

Sources used

Archivist's note

Sarah Stroman

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Accession area