Art Rubinstein Biography

Art Rubinstein was a famous Polish pianist who is regarded by many as the greatest Chopin interpreter of the 20th century.


Arthur Rubinstein was born on January 28, 1887, in Lodz, Poland. He began playing the piano at the age of 3. After a lukewarm reception to his American tour, he took a hiatus and emerged 4 years later to critical acclaim. He toured the world, playing revolutionary interpretations of Chopin, until he was forced to retire from partial blindness. He died on December 20, 1982, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Early Life

Pianist Arthur Rubinstein was born in Lodz, Poland, on January 28, 1887. He began playing piano at the age of 3, and made his first public performance when he was just 7. One year later, Rubinstein's mother took him to meet violinist Joseph Joachim in Berlin. Awed by the child prodigy, Joachim agreed to provide his musical education. He introduced Rubinstein to Heinrich Barth. Three years later, the young pianist debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Beethoven Saal, where his performance of Mozart, Chopin and Schumann earned reviews praising his sophistication and maturity. In 1906, he made his American debut at Carnegie Hall, where he received a cool reception. Nevertheless, he completed a 75-concert tour of the United States Rubinstein, discouraged by poor critiques, moved to Paris and took a 4-year hiatus.

Critical Acclaim

In 1914, Rubinstein moved from Paris to Spain, where he was praised for his passionate and charismatic performances. His time in Spain led to an extended tour in South America. He later returned to Paris where he lived as a socialite, befriending artists including Cocteau and Picasso. He had a reputation as a hilarious extrovert and a grand storyteller.

In 1932, he married Aniela Mlynarski, who was nearly half his age. Their relationship inspired him to settle down and take himself seriously as an artist. After the birth of their first child, Rubinstein began practicing from 12 to 16 hours per day. In 1937, he returned to Carnegie Hall. This time, audiences embraced him. He was heralded as a genius for his interpretation of Chopin's work, which critics saw as a creative revolution.

Later Career

As World War II began, Rubinstein moved his family to Los Angeles, California. In 1946, he became an American citizen. He toured the world, and his performance in Warsaw garnered a unanimous ovation, the second ever in Polish history.

Sadly, Rubinstein lost his family in Lodz, Poland, during the war. Afterwards, he publicly supported Israel. He was honored with a professorship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Yale, Brown, Rutgers and Harvard also awarded him honorary degrees. He continued to perform until partial blindness forced his retirement in 1976. The same year, he received the United States Medal of Freedom. He died on December 20, 1982, in Geneva, Switzerland. His wife and their four children survived him.

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