Russell J. Bobrowski died in his sleep on Friday morning 18 February at East Jefferson Hospital. He was 88.
Mr. Bobrowski was born in Rutherford, New Jersey December 29th, 1916, the son of Polish immigrants and one of three children. He was a child prodigy on the violin, beginning his studies at the age of 6 and continuing under the mentorship of Eddy Brown and Louis Persinger. He studied at New York University and the Julliard School of Music.
In 1942, Mr. Bobrowski entered the United States armed forces during WWII, serving for 3 ˝ years with the 5th Army Corp as a medic in North Africa and Italy and later, sharing a tent with the actor Bert Lancaster, in the special services division for which he received a citation.
Due to a quirk of fate – ill health requiring a warmer climate – Mr. Bobrowski moved to New Orleans in 1946 where he became an integral part of the burgeoning music community.
He became a part of a fledgling group of classical musicians that would later become known first as the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and then later as the Louisiana Symphony, now performing at the Orpheum Theatre.
During his over fifty years as a concert musician, Mr. Bobrowski was both assistant concert master (1949) and later concert master (1952) and personnel manager of the New Orleans Opera House Association and a founding member, concert master and personnel manager of the New Orleans Summer Pops association (1950).
He was also principle 2nd violinist, assistant concert master, and concert and personnel manager of the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Bobrowski’s love of music and desire to share this love with others was expressed through his promotion and participation in the Youth Concert Series of the Pops, his professorship and violin instructions at Loyola University, his private teachings and multiple performances, from the New Orleans String Quartet of the New Orleans Chamber Music Society and Arnaud’s Easter Parade (1967) to the Spring Fiesta.
Mr. Bobrowski had the privilege to associate with such celebrities as Bert Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart, Rudolph Serkin, Yasha Heifietz, Itzak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Zino Francescotti, Rugerio Ricci, Arturo Toscanini, as well as local celebrities such as Allan Toussant, Ronnie Cole, Al Hirt and Harry Connick.
As an active musician, Mr. Bobrowski cherished and depended upon his Claude Pieray violin, which was created by hand in 1712 Paris. During his tenure, it was one of the oldest instruments in use by the New Orleans Philharmonic.
Mr. Bobrowski played an important role in the history, promotion and development of classical in New Orleans. Those associated with the arts in New Orleans have in some way been touched by Mr. Bobrowski and his contributions remain.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Grace Smith, a brother, Paul Brooks of New Jersey, four children, Angela, Paul and Joseph Bobrowski and Gina Bobrowski-Voleker and several grandchildren.