ORENSTEIN, ARBIE (1937–), U.S. musicologist and pianist. Born and raised in New York City, he attended the High School of Music and Art, Queens College, and the Graduate School of Columbia University, where he received a Ph.D. in musicology. He was professor of music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where he also taught a course in Jewish music.
Arbie Orenstein is the author of two major books on Ravel: Ravel: Man and Musician, published by Columbia University Press, 1975 (reissued as a Dover paperback in 1991), and A Ravel Reader (Columbia University Press, 1990; reissued as a Dover paperback in 2003). The latter was originally written in French as Ravel: Lettres, Écrits, Entretiens, published by Flammarion in 1989. As a pianist, Orenstein accompanied many outstanding cantors and recorded the world premieres of several works by Ravel, which he discovered in France while on a United States Government Fulbright grant. Orenstein also wrote an introductory essay on the life and work of A.Z. *Idelsohn for the Dover reprint of Idelsohn's classic text, Jewish Music in Its Historical Development. The French knighted him, awarding him the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. He was the coeditor, with Israel J. *Katz, of the scholarly annual journal Musica Judaica, sponsored by the *American Society for Jewish Music.