Xenia Boodberg Lee
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Xenia Boodberg Lee
Xenia Boodberg Lee
Xenia Boodberg Lee, from a 1953 newspaper.
Xenia Boodberg Lee, from a 1953 newspaper
Xenia Boodberg

(1927-11-28)November 28, 1927
Oakland, California
DiedSeptember 27, 2004(2004-09-27) (aged 76)
Other namesXenia Lee

Xenia Boodberg Lee (November 28, 1927 - September 27, 2004) was an American concert pianist, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Early life

Xenia Boodberg was born in Oakland, California,[1] the only child[2] of Peter A. Boodberg (1903-1972) and Elena (Helen) Boodberg (1896-1980). Her father was a Russian-born Baltic German linguistics scholar and professor of Oriental Languages at the University of California in Berkeley.[3] Her aunt Valentina A. Vernon recalled that her parents tried to raise her without speaking English as a small child, "only French and Russian".[4]

Xenia Boodberg was creative child, publishing poems and stories in the Berkeley newspaper at age 8,[5] and winning an essay contest on fire prevention from the Berkeley Lodge of Elks, also in 1936.[6] She was performing at public events as a pianist before and into her early teens.[7][8][9] She earned an associate in arts degree at the University of California in 1948.[10] She also studied with pianist Egon Petri at Mills College,[11][12] and with pianist Adolph Baller.[13]


Soon after college, in January 1949, she gave a program of piano music by composers Darius Milhaud, Roger Sessions, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Béla Bartók, and Claude Debussy in New York, of which The New York Times reviewer commented, "Miss Boodberg remains a pianist of unusual potentialities, especially in the field of new music".[14] She played recitals and concerts, especially twentieth-century works,[15] in the San Francisco Bay area and elsewhere, often and for many years afterwards,[16][17][18][19][20] into the 1970s.[21] She was a member of the San Francisco Musical Club and played with the Oakland Symphony and the Stockton Symphony.[22]

Personal life

Before February 1950, Xenia Boodberg married Richard Henry Lee, a marine sargeant and Korean War veteran,[23] and a descendant of American founding father Richard Henry Lee.[24] They had two children, Richard and Julie.[4] She died in 2004, aged 76 years.[25]


  1. ^ "Xenia Boodberg" Berkeley Daily Gazette (February 22, 1936): 7. via NewspaperArchive.com
  2. ^ Bancroft Library, Teacher and founding curator of the East Asiatic Library: from Urbana to Berkeley by way of Peking : oral history transcript (University of California Libraries 1977): 152-153. via Internet Archiveopen access
  3. ^ Yuen Ren Chao, Yakov Malkiel, and Helen McCullough. "In Memoriam: Peter Alexis Boodberg, Oriental Languages: Berkeley" (July 1975).
  4. ^ a b Bancroft Library, Russian emigré recollections: life in Russia and California : oral history transcript / 1979-1983 (University of California Libraries 1986): Vernon 27. via Internet Archiveopen access
  5. ^ Xenia Boodberg, "The Night in the Doll House" Berkeley Daily Gazette (March 19, 1936): 7. via NewspaperArchive.com
  6. ^ "Berkeley Child Awarded Fire Prevention Prize" Oakland Tribune (October 28, 1936): 8. via Newspapers.com
  7. ^ "Piano Recital" The San Francisco Examiner (March 27, 1940): 19. via Newspapers.com
  8. ^ "Berkeley Child Pianist to Play at Mills" Oakland Tribune (March 9, 1941): 27. via Newspapers.com
  9. ^ "Young Pianist Plans Recital" Berkeley Daily Gazette (March 11, 1942): 7. via NewspaperArchive.com
  10. ^ Register - University of California, Volume 2 (University of California Press 1948): 30.
  11. ^ "Art Museum Recital" The San Francisco Examiner (December 13, 1948): 15. via Newspapers.com
  12. ^ "Student Recital on Mills Campus" The San Francisco Examiner (August 7, 1948): 12. via Newspapers.com
  13. ^ "Piano Recital" The San Francisco Examiner (May 2, 1969): 33. via Newspapers.com
  14. ^ "Program on Piano by Xenia Boodberg" New York Times (January 15, 1949): 11. via ProQuest
  15. ^ Clifford Gessler, "New Piano Works" Oakland Tribune (September 20, 1953): 59. via Newspapers.com
  16. ^ "Concert for Music Club" Newport Daily News (February 17, 1950): 2. via Newspapers.com
  17. ^ "Concert Calendar for the Week" Oakland Tribune (September 13, 1953): 59. via Newspapers.com
  18. ^ Alexander Fried, "Xenia B. Lee in Recital" The San Francisco Examiner (February 10, 1957): 43. via Newspapers.com
  19. ^ "Musical to Aid Activity Center" Oakland Tribune (August 25, 1962): 47. via Newspapers.com
  20. ^ Alexander Fried, "Pianist Excels in Unusual Program" The San Francisco Examiner (May 7, 1969): 192. via Newspapers.com
  21. ^ "Scriabin Program" The San Francisco Examiner (February 20, 1972): 162. via Newspapers.com
  22. ^ Dolores Waldorf, "College Club, AAUW Set Christmas Tea" Oakland Tribune (November 25, 1959): 6. via Newspapers.com
  23. ^ "Xenia Lee to Solo in Grieg Concerto with Oaklanders" Oakland Tribune (January 24, 1954): 57. via Newspapers.com
  24. ^ "Young Pianist Scores Before Music Club" Newport Daily News (February 22, 1950): 3. via Newspapers.com
  25. ^ Xenia B. Lee, US Social Security Death Index, via NewspaperArchive.com

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