In Memory of Jerry Robbins

Jerry Robbins

It is with sadness that I share the news of the passing of one of our dear friends, Jerry Robbins. Jerry was a league member for 15 years. He was a musician at heart and loved coming to the Symphony. Please join me in sharing your memories of Jerry below. His story is a success story of a hardworking son of the immigrants who enjoyed life to the fullest.

Jerry Robbins (born 9 April 1927 in Brooklyn) was the youngest of four children born to Samuel Rabinowitz (later changed to Robbins), who with wife Mary Golden, immigrated to America from Russia prior to starting a family. Young Jerry showed an early aptitude for music and attended many different schools showing promise with singing. With encouragement and support from a high school teacher, Jerry was accepted by The Boston Conservatory of Music in their Voice Program. While very talented, he realized that he wasn’t quite dedicated to become a star, so as a young man he dropped out of the Conservatory and tried his talents in a few different fields. He later discovered that he enjoyed sales as a Real Estate Agent, when he settled in Southern California.

His love for opera and symphony remained a constant throughout his lifetime. An avid consumer of the arts, Jerry maintained subscriptions to LA Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic until 2009 when his friend and New West Symphony League member Saralee Baldwin introduced him to New West Symphony. After a few years, he became a League member and attended concerts with Saralee. He always felt so welcomed by the League as if they had been lifelong friends. One of his most memorable birthdays was his 90th in the presence of 100 pre-concert dinner attendees.

For the following decade, Jerry enjoyed the camaraderie of his New West Symphony friends, wonderful music, in-home parties and events along with Saralee who dedicated time and resources to keep him comfortable as he struggled with dementia. Saralee remembers Jerry singing into his later years at Friday shabbat celebrations in his assisted living home and how he was always complemented for his voice and the joy he brought to so many.

Jerry peacefully passed away on March 9, 2024, leaving a legacy gift for the New West Symphony to sustain the organization which provided him with enjoyment and inspiration over many years. Please share your memories of Jerry in the comments below. Thank you.

Natalia Staneva, CEO

New West Symphony