Photo Album

The Family of Mischa and Maria (Drobatschewsky) Borisoff


Photo Gallery
150 Family Photos

Slide Show Presentation
Double click the screen for full screen view.


Click Picture above and listen to a rare WWII  recording that Bob Borisoff sent to his family. This record was sent courtesy of the Red Cross, from a hospital in San Francisco, where Bob was recovering from injuries he sustained during an accidental depth-charge mine detonation.


Circa 1969...The Heifetz Electric Car was designed and built for Jascha Heifetz by Bob Borisoff, PE.  Mr. Heifetz traveled from home to Hollywood. The car did 45 mph for 45 to 70 miles depending on how he conserved the energy.   (Allegro ma non troppo!)

(click picture above for film clip)


Read the article from the L.A. Times about a second 1970 electric car.

                                 Read "15 Years Before Its Time,"... The complete history of Borisoff
                                 Engineering's, "Electrobus," an all-electric rapid transit vehicle.  (Pages 14-27)



Maria Drobatschewskaya Borisoff - My Grandmother, was
a child prodigy and after her arrival in Los Angeles,
"Madame Borisoff"  taught many LA area pianists.

(Click the picture above to hear a little of Grandma Manya's playing...
included is Stephen Borisoff playing a portion of "The Polonaise.")
[The sound quality is poor... its all we have!]





One of many banners that were found on German concert hall marquees



Read reviews from her concertizing years in Berlin, Germany
(click on thumbnails to enlarge)




Madame Drobatschewskaya


In her own words... a short description of Maria (Drobatschewskaya) Borisoff's musical training  and concertizing in pre-war Berlin... excerpted from her later statement to the German government when she applied for reparations...

I, Maria Fuchs Borisoff, born Drobatschewskaya, was born an April 4, 1899, in Odessa, Russia.  I attended the imperial school of music and relocated to Berlin in October, 1910.  I enjoyed private instruction in piano with Georg Bertram, Berlin W. 30, Haberlandstrasse 3.  In September 1911, I continued my study at the Stern’sche Konservatorium der Musik (1850-1936) where, on July 1, 1914 I received the Gustav Dutchman medal for my musical achievement.  Then I became the master pupil of Leonid Kreutzer, professor at the national University in Berlin.  I obtained official certification to concertize and teach piano.  I performed in Berlin to sold out houses and received rav reviews.  I married Mischa Fuchs on April 5, 1923.  With Hitler's seizure of power in January 1933 and when Jews were forbidden to concertize, I had to terminate my musical career.  We emigrated to the United States on 25th of May 1934.



Maria Drobatschewskaya Borisoff's Eulogy, February 27, 1989
written by her daughter-in-law, Edith Borisoff.

Maria Borisoff was born in Odessa Russia 86 years ago, the youngest of 5 children. The entire family was totally immersed in music and at the ripe old age of 8, Manya, as she was affectionately called, was whisked away to Berlin by Uncle Fiedemann, who maintained that she was a budding child prodigy and that this talent needed to be cultivated in an atmosphere more appropriate than Czarist Russia.

The Berlin of 1910 was teeming with culture and music. Into this milieu came this child, ready to study and work toward the goal of concert pianist. To make ends meet, she donned high heels to look much older, so that she could take on students who were just a few years younger than she was. It wasn't too long before she took to the concert stage and received glowing reviews.

In 1923 she married Mischa Borisoff and two years later gave birth to their son, Boris, the light of their lives.

With the establishment of the Hitler regime in 1933, an early incident awakened them to the need for leaving the country. First plans were to emigrate to Palestine but, on the urging of Uncle Sasha, successfully established in Los Angeles, they decided to come to America, arriving in 1934.

For the second time in her life she was uprooted and thrust into a different culture. Here she was, no language but that of music, trying to find herself and help provide for the family in the midst of the U.S. side of the great depression. She did it all, raised a wonderful, bright child, gave music lessons and recitals, and established herself in the musical world of L. A. She loved the excitement, the rush and the challenges of a busy working life.

Unfortunately, 'Bob' was not imbued with his parents' great interest in music, but instead preferred to tinker with motors and old watches. After several failed attempts at the piano and the violin, Manya gave up on a musical career for Bob.

With the coming of World War II and the holocaust, she tried valiantly to bring her brother and his family to the U. S. with partial success. Her beloved brother, Heinrich, and all of her remaining family in Russia were lost.

1948 saw Bob's marriage to Edith and the subsequent birth of the twins, Stephen and Paul. All her energies went into the care and nurturing of her beloved twins. All this time she harbored the not-so-secret dream that they should take up the musical mantle of her interrupted career. This task took on the manner of a crusade when she purchased their first piano on the occasion of their fifth birthday.

Before long she had two more "victims" in the persons of David and Susan. There was the fun of staying at Grandma Manya's house for the weekend and getting all of her personal attention including a music lesson. Trips to Desert Hot Springs were also part of life with Grandma with all of the hustle and bustle of packing up and getting on the road before the traffic began. But behind all of this was her first and foremost goal: that of the children's musical education. One would have to say that she succeeded. Every one of the children is in some measure connected to music and finds it an integral part of his life.

Mischa passed away in 1964 and with him went a great deal of the meaning of her life. The children grew up and, as children will, they grew away. They all married and had children of their own and shared their joy with their Grandma Manya.

Age and infirmity took its toll and Manya was no longer able to fend for herself, so she resorted to living in a retirement hotel. When that was no longer feasible, she moved to Petit House and was cared for tirelessly by their caring staff. Her latest accident made hospitalization necessary and with that - her passing on February 27.  Those powerfully talented fingers, once acclaimed throughout Europe, are stilled, but ...the melody lingers on...


Sister Susan's children, Jonah, Laurel and Ethan play Maria Drobatschewskaya's Bechstein Concert Grand at a recital, June 2016.





Heinrich Drobatschewsky - My Great Uncle - Maria's Brother


A Brilliant Violinist whose life was cut short in a German Concentration Camp.



Uncle Heinrich was a noted European violinist and concert master for various large German and Dutch Orchestras.  He was trained by the eminent teacher, Carl Fleisch. Members of his family made valiant attempts to bring him to safety, but these efforts were in vain.

Uncle Heinrich (far right)   Member of the Fiedemann Quartet





Dimitri Drobatschewsky



Playing the toy trumpet part of Leopold
Mozart's Toy Symphony


During World War II, Heinrich's son, Dimitri, joined the Vichy Foreign Legion.  He served until the spring of 1942, then he deserted and rejoined De Gaulle's Free French Forces in Libya. That army also had a brigade of Foreign Legionnaires, so he remained a legionnaire. With the Free French Forces, he fought the Nazis not only in France, but also in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Italy and finally, France and Germany. After immigrating to the United States, he became a music critic for a Arizona Republic.  Once, when asked what credentials supported his being a music critic, he responded, "In order to be a music critic, your last name must be very long!" Despite the hardship and loss of the war years, Dimitri is blessed with a wonderful sense of humor and passion for life and the arts.

Update:  Dimitri Drobatschewsky (May 7, 1922 - December 15, 2012)

Mitja passed away peacefully in his daughter's home in Arizona, He was 90 years old.  He is survived by his son, Serge and daughter Stephanie. 

Dimitri's Brother, Vladimir Drobatschewsky.
  Today, Vladimir lives in Cuba.

Update September 14, 2010 from Dimitri Drobatschewsky:

Hello, Bob and Paul

A bit of sad news: today, my brother Wowo died peacefully in his bed, after a very long illness and three strokes. Given his condition and medical history, I consider his death mostly a deliverance; he did not enjoy life during the last year or so and he was unable to do anything other than be dependent on his 24/7 caretaker. But we all have good memories of and about him, and he was an excellent musician.  He will be buried Wednesday, in Havana.  Hope all is well with you.

All the best,

                  Vladimir was 90 years old.


Grandpa Mischa (top center) - Conducting the back row?



Mischa Borisoff (2nd from the left) - My Grandfather



Boris Fuchs Borisoff - Mischa Borisoff's Father


He was an accomplished violinist and also owned a hosiery factory.  He apparently was well off until Stalin's Bolsheviks jailed and then killed him. Maria Borisoff reported that she had heard that the Bolshevik fanatics also blew up the factory despite a great scarcity of clothing needed for the Russian winter.



Alexander Borisoff     Nickname:  Sasha


Alexander Borisoff was born in Odessa, Russia. He attended the Russian Conservatory of Music where he majored in Composition and Cello. He graduated with a Doctorate in Music and performed as a concert cellist in a series of highly successful appearances throughout Europe before coming to America. While touring the United States, Alexander was invited by Dr. Otto Klemperer to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic as their first cellist. During his tenure with the Philharmonic, Alexander introduced his Cello Concerto and his Poeme Ancient for Cello, Narrator, Chorus & Orchestra. Alexander was commissioned by NBC to compose a tone poem for Symphony Orchestra based upon the theme America which was played by the Los Angeles Philharmonic over a coast-to-coast broadcast and subsequently performed by major symphony orchestras throughout the United States. In 1971, Alexander's String Quartet was recorded by the American Chamber Virtuosi and in 1975 his Impressions of Hawaii was commissioned and performed by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. He wrote scores for many Hollywood motion pictures and television programs and has also made musical arrangements for well-known vocalists and recording groups. He also wrote books on musical composition. Alexander sadly passed away in the early 1980s.




  (click on thumbnails to enlarge)  



Evan Borisoff


(Listen to Evan's - Da Grind)



  Evan Borisoff has always had an interest in singing and performing.  Whether it be, at age 5, behind a stage built for him by his father or numerous other local events, Evan can be found working his audience into a frenzy.  Reminiscent of the style of the famous Al Jolson, he can summoned the best out of any audience.  



(David & Kate 2nd and 3rd from the left)





David Borisoff - My Brother



Jason Borisoff  (David's son)


(Click here to listen to one of their tunes)

  Brother Dave and his son Jason continue the strong familiar presence in the music world.  David is a manufacturer of musical instrument products.  Based in upstate New York, Hipshot Products has become an international supplier of  OEM and String Instrument related products.  David is also a well-know banjo and steel guitar player.  David's son Jason, a fantastic guitar player, continues his family tradition performing blues and bluegrass favorites.  Jason's talent also springs naturally from his mother, Kate's side of the family.  The McDonald Family abounds with musical and dramatic talent.  Jason's talent is a reflection of and a credit to the best of both our families.  
  And the talent continues...  


Janice Ortega - My Cousin (Alexander Borisoff's Grand Daughter)


Janice Ortega, a San Franciscan, began her studies of the harp at age 10. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in music from California State University East Bay.

Several international and national scholarships for foreign study enabled Janice to continue graduate studies. She received the title of Artist Diploma at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands where she studied with Phia Berghout, Principal Harpist, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam.

Janice received the Master of Music Degree in harp performance from Indiana University under the direction of Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald. Janice studied on scholarship with Juilliard Professor Nancy Allen at the Aspen School of Music.

Janice performed in Europe with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, as Second Harp and as Principal Harp with the Liege (Belgium) Orkestra Philharmonique, the Limburg (Holland) Symphony Orchestra, the Gianville Symphony in Milan, the Van Karajan Orchestra (Berlin), Tanglewood Music Festival Orchestra, and the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra.

She has performed for several years as a soloist and in ensemble settings with the symphony orchestras of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose, the Peninsula Civic Light Opera, the San Jose Civic Light Opera, and at Skywalker Ranch Recording studios, Lucas Valley.

Janice performs with a variety of musicians as part of chamber ensembles for special events throughout the Bay Area. These events have included the Stanford University Lively Arts Chamber Recital, the Mission Dolores (San Francisco) Trio Recital, and chamber performances at the Florence Gould Theater of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.  Visit Janice's Website




David Alan Miller Conductor - My Cousin




David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, he has worked with most of America’s major orchestras, developing especially close relationships with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony. He has also conducted the orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee and Indianapolis, as well as the New World Symphony and the New York City Ballet.

As Music Director of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras. Recent honors include Columbia University’s 2003 Ditson Conductor’s Award, the oldest award honoring conductors for their commitment to American music. Additionally, Mr. Miller has received the 2001 ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming and, in 1999, ASCAP’s first-ever Leonard Bernstein Award for Outstanding Educational Programming.

In September, 2006, Mr. Miller opened the Chicago Symphony subscription season and the Chicago World Music Festival with four highly acclaimed concerts. During the 2006-7 season, he returns to the Minnesota Orchestra for his eighth season as conductor, creator and host of its "Casual Classics" series. Recent highlights included appearances with the Baltimore, Houston and Milwaukee Symphonies, the Minnesota and Louisville Orchestras, the Grand Teton Music Festival and his third visit to the Estoril Festival, Portugal's leading arts festival. He recently traveled to Australia to lead performances of John Adams oratorio, “El Nińo,” at the Sydney Opera House.

Internationally, Mr. Miller made his debut with the RAI Orchestra in Turin, Italy, in the 1999-2000 season. He has also conducted major European orchestras in Berlin, Barcelona, Prague, Dresden, Hanover, Halle and Mainz. He has appeared with the Adelaide Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Singapore Symphony; led the Australian Youth Orchestra on its European tour; and conducted the Asian Youth Orchestra on a major tour of the Far East that included concerts in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. In Canada, he has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Edmonton Symphony.

Mr. Miller is highly regarded as a champion and interpreter of American music, new and old. His extensive discography includes recordings of the works of Todd Levin with the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, as well as music by Michael Daugherty, Kamran Ince, and Michael Torke for London/Decca. His recordings with the Albany Symphony include discs of music by John Harbison, Roy Harris, Morton Gould, Don Gillis, Vincent Persichetti, George Lloyd and Peter Mennin, all on the Albany Records label. He also led the Los Angeles Philharmonic in its recording of Mel Powell’s music, including “Duplicates: Concerto for Two Pianos,” winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Mr. Miller's most recent CD release is the world premiere recording of Michael Torke's opera, Strawberry Fields, on the Ecstatic Records label. He is currently completing a disc of major works by Greek-American George Tsontakis with the Albany Symphony for Koch. Mr. Miller is the founder and Artistic Director of New Paths in Music, a festival in New York City dedicated to presenting the works of significant non-American composers who are not yet well-known in the U.S.

Prior to his appointment in Albany, Mr. Miller was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. During his five-year tenure there, he conducted subscription concerts, special programs at the Hollywood Bowl, and Symphonies for Youth concerts, and he led the orchestra in premieres of numerous works. From 1982 to 1988, he was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, earning considerable acclaim for his work with that ensemble. A native of Los Angeles, David Alan Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School. Mr. Miller lives with his wife and three children in Slingerlands, New York.

David was born into a musical family.  His father, Gerald Miller, served for many years as a Cantor at Temple Judea in the San Fernando Valley.  He also taught music classes at Monroe High School.

Master (Maestro) Paul H. Borisoff played a major role in producing a fund-raiser for the Willie Ross Foundation.  Despite the Tujunga Fires, the show went on bringing badly needed funds to the foundation!  Kung-Fu San Soo, Reseda's students, past and present, rallied to help out. 


(Click above to enlarge)



Hawaiian Ranch Fund-Raiser Video

Hawaiian Ranch Fund-Raiser - a Job Well Done Video

The Ol' School Motorcycle Ride Video

Fund-Raiser Violin Concert in the Court of Elisa Bonaparte

Spencerian Artist, Michael Sull - A Book Acknowledgement

The Family of Paul and Marilyn Borisoff