Pictured left to right: CEO Anya Grokhovski’s mother Zina Khiger, father Yuri Sheykhet (deceased), former father-in law Alexander Grokhovski (deceased), and friend Robin Abraham (deceased).
“We are mourning the loss of a dear friend, supporter, and mentor. Robin Abraham was a great friend and a colleague of my parents. They formed a quartet together many years ago. He initiated sustainable support for Musical Bridges Around the World and is the reason my little nieces are growing up in the U.S. and not in Russia. He was the kindest man I knew and we will never forget him.”
– Anya Grokhovski, DMA, MBAW CEO & Artistic Director
Robin Abraham, a retired musician and music teacher, passed away in San Antonio on July 10, 2022. He was 99.
Robin was born in New York City on May 5, 1923, the son of Herbert and Dorothy (Jacoby) Abraham.
He grew up in Manhattan and enjoyed spending summers with his family in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Following his graduation from the Horace Mann School in New York, Robin studied physics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in an accelerated training program for World War II servicemen.
After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944, Robin served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Fleet aboard the minesweeper-tender USS Picket. He was one of the first to observe the site in Hiroshima, Japan, where the atomic bomb had been dropped by Allied forces, and was aboard ship in Tokyo Bay during the ceremony marking the official surrender by Japanese forces. Robin was a supply officer on the Picket, and was later its interim captain as it returned to the States to be decommissioned. He was selected by the Navy Department to write a brief official history of the ship.
From childhood, Robin was a serious and highly talented musician. Following his military service, he won admission to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied cello with Leonard Rose and Lieff Rosanoff. Robin would also develop professional-level proficiency on violin, double bass, and piano.
At Juilliard, Robin met Peggy Tisinger, a piano student from Houston, and the two were married in Houston on June 18, 1949. They returned to New York to continue their schooling.
Robin earned a position in the Gershwin Orchestra, which originated in New York and toured throughout the U.S. and Canada. While in New Orleans, Louisiana, he auditioned successfully for a position in the San Antonio Symphony, which he held from 1954 to 1957. He also played with a piano trio at the St. Anthony Hotel. Robin took private cello lessons with Paul Olefsky in Austin and violin lessons with Alfio Pignotti in San Antonio; he subsequently played violin in the Austin Symphony for several years. Robin played numerous recitals on cello with his wife, Peggy, collaborating as pianist.
Very soon after moving to San Antonio, Robin and Peggy started teaching music, first in the San Antonio Independent School District, and privately as well. Their first studio was the Highland Park Music Studio on the south side of San Antonio. In 1973 they moved, and their new location was subsequently known as Northside School of Music. The Abrahams established the Music Foundation of San Antonio, which has provided funds to hundreds of needy students. They both taught until well into their 90s. Both were active members of the San Antonio Music Teachers Association, and each served in many capacities, including as president; Robin’s term was from 1967 to 1969.
They were honored for their years of excellence in teaching by both SAMTA and by Musical Bridges Around the World and earned the gratitude of countless former students, some of whom have gone on to professional careers in music. Robin also sold string instrument supplies and sheet music and offered instrument repairs through his business, Northside Music. Additionally, he and Peggy established the R&P Land Company, through which they bought and sold real estate and contracted building construction and maintenance.
Robin was preceded in death by his brother, George Abraham, and by two sisters, Amy Robinson and Jane Bowie.
He is survived by Peggy, his wife of 73 years; by his daughter, April Abraham Brahinsky, and her husband, Eric, of San Antonio; by his son, Robin Abraham, Jr., of San Antonio, and his partner, Alissa Podber of Austin; and by numerous nieces and nephews.
Donations in Robin’s memory may be made to MOSAS Performance Fund (Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony), Musical Bridges Around the World, or the charity of one’s choice.
Published by San Antonio Express-News on Jul. 15, 2022
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