Rubinstein, Artur

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RUBINSTEIN, ARTUR (1886–1982), virtuoso pianist. He started to play the piano at the age of three, in Lodz, Poland, where he was born, and made his first appearance as soloist in Berlin in 1897, with Joseph *Joachim conducting. Two years later he played in Warsaw under the baton of Emil Mlinarsky (who later became his father-in-law) and fame followed quickly. He appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1906. At the outbreak of World War i, he offered his services to the Polish Embassy in London and gave concerts for the Allied Forces. On seeing the results of German brutality among civilians, he decided never to appear again in Germany. He toured Spain and Latin America and after the war he moved to New York. Until then, he had been considered a great performer of Chopin but his interpretative range widened to include Beethoven, Schumann and others. During the ensuing years, Rubinstein developed into a master pianist of deep insight, whose periodic recitals drew both the general public and the connoisseurs. At one period, he was giving 150 concerts a year, many of them for charity. He changed his domicile several times. When playing in Europe, he lived in Paris. In 1937 he moved to Los Angeles but after World War ii lived again in Paris while appearing for seasons on the Continent, in London, New York and Israel. He also played chamber music with *Heifetz, with Feuermann, and with *Piatigorsky, making memorable recordings. His later seasons in his 70s and 80s almost had the character of Rubinstein festivals. He raised his voice against injustice – for Israel before the Six-Day War, against Poland's anti-Jewish campaign, and against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1963 the Artur Rubinstein Chair of Musicology was established at the Hebrew University by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on the proceeds of his concerts in Israel, for which he always refused payment. In April 1976 Rubinstein was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Weizmann Institute at a special ceremony held in Tel Aviv, and in April 1977 he was honored as a Yakir Yerushalayim ("distinguished citizen of Jerusalem") at a ceremony closing the Master Piano Competition. In December 1978 he was one of the five recipients of the newly-instituted annual Kennedy Center Honors. Rubinstein was also the subject of a film, L'Amour de la vie (1969). The first volume of Rubinstein's autobiography, My Young Years, was published in 1973. The Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, established in his name, was first held in Israel in 1974 and has become a regular triennial event. The second volume of his autobiography, My Many Years, appeared in 1980.


W.E. von Lewinski, Artur Rubinstein (Ger., 1967); B. Gavoty, Artur Rubinstein (Fr., 1955, Eng. tr., 1956); Grove, Dict s.v.; The International Who's Who in Music (1951), s.v.

[Uri (Erich) Toeplitz /

Max Loppert (2nd ed.)]

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Rubinstein, Artur

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