Artur Rubinstein

Biography

Born: January 28, 1887; Poland   Died: December 20, 1982; Switzerland  
Warm, lyrical, and aristocratic in his interpretations, Artur Rubinstein performed impressively into extremely old age, and he was a keyboard prodigy almost from the time he could climb onto a piano bench. He came from a mercantile rather than a musical family, but fixated on the piano as soon as he heard it. At age three he impressed Joseph Joachim, and by the age of seven he was playing Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn at a charity concert in Read more his hometown. In Warsaw, he had piano lessons with Alexander Róóycki; then in 1897 he was sent to Berlin to study piano with Heinrich Barth and theory with Robert Kahn and Max Bruch, all under Joachim's general supervision. In 1899 came his first notable concerto appearance in Potsdam. Soon thereafter, just barely a teenager, he began touring Germany and Poland.

After brief studies with Paderewski in Switzerland in 1903, Rubinstein moved to Paris, where he met Ravel, Dukas, and Jacques Thibaud, and played Saint-Saëns' G minor Concerto to the composer's approval. That work would remain a flashy Rubinstein vehicle for six decades, and it was the concerto he offered in his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in New York's Carnegie Hall in 1906. His under-prepared American tour was not especially well-received, though, so he withdrew to Europe for further study. Rubinstein became an adept and sensitive chamber musician and accompanist; his 1912 London debut was accompanying Pablo Casals, and during World War I he toured with Eugène Ysaÿe.

He gave several successful recitals in Spain during the 1916-1917 season, and soon toured Latin America. Along the way he developed a great flair for Hispanic music; Heitor Villa-Lobos went so far as to dedicate to Rubinstein his Rudepoema, one of the toughest works in the repertory. Although Rubinstein would later be somewhat typecast as a Chopin authority, his readings of Falla, Granados, and Albéniz would always be equally idiomatic.

Rubinstein's international reputation grew quickly, although he was by his own account a sloppy technician. In the mid-1930s he withdrew again and drilled himself in technique. By 1937 he reemerged as a musician of great discipline, poise, and polish -- qualities he would mostly retain until his farewell recital in London in 1976, at the age of 89. Rubinstein's temperament had sufficient fire for Beethoven but enough poetry for Chopin; his tempos and dynamics were always flexible, but never distorted. His 1960s recordings for RCA of nearly all Chopin's solo piano music have been considered basic to any record collection since their release, and his version of Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain is another classic, as are his various late collaborations with the Guarneri Quartet.

Rubinstein became a naturalized American citizen in 1946, but he maintained residences in California, New York, Paris, and Geneva; two of his children were born in the United States, one in Warsaw, and one in Buenos Aires. He had married Aniela Mlynarska in 1932, but womanizing remained integral to his reputation as an irrepressible bon vivant. He maintained that the slogan "wine, women, and song" as applied to him meant 80 percent women and only 20 percent wine and song.

Still, there was a serious side to his life. After World War II, he refused ever again to perform in Germany, in response to the Nazi extermination of his Polish family. Rubinstein became a strong supporter of Israel; in gratitude, an international piano competition in his name was instituted in Jerusalem in 1974. His honors included the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society of London, the U.S. Medal of Freedom (1976), and membership in the French Legion of Honor. Read less

Browse 1-25 of 168 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 2.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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  • 3.
    Best Of Classic
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 7016 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Jacques Offenbach,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Patrice Fontanarosa,  Günther Körner,  Thierry Amadi  ... 
    Conductor:  Denise Cloutier,  Frank Shipway,  Libor Pesek,  Arturo Leonard  ... 
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  • 4.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
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  • 5.
    Legendary Rubinstein! - Chopin
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 302502 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 545145 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Maurice Ravel,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Laurence Lesser,  Paul Rosenthal,  Israel Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Wallenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra
    On sale! $69.98
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  • 7.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 3; Ravel, Chopin / Arthur Rubinstein
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5095 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 8.
    The Very Best Of Jascha Heifetz
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 164862 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henri Vieuxtemps,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jean Sibelius,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Artur Rubinstein,  Arok Sandor,  Emanuel Bay
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Sir Thomas Beecham
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  • 9.
    Israel Philharmonic Orchestra - Anniversary Edition
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059458 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Rachlin,  Vadim Repin,  Evgeni Kissin,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $98.99
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  • 10.
    Jascha Heifetz Plays Beethoven Sonatas & Concertos
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1915552 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Jacob Lateiner,  Leonard Pennario  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Arthur Rubinstein Plays Frederic Chopin
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001684 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 12.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 13.
    Arthur Rubinstein Plays Brahms
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7760992 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Henryk Szeryng,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Pierre Fournier  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Josef Krips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Guarneri String Quartet members
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  • 14.
    Charles Munch Conducts Romantic Masterworks
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7826732 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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    On sale! $28.98
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  • 15.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10132 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jascha Heifetz,  Rudolf Serkin,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alfred Scholz,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 16.
    Debussy - Le Compositeur Et Ses Interpretes
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1215 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Claire Croiza,  George Reeves,  Ninon Vallin,  Gustav Cloëz  ... 
    Conductor:  Camille Chevillard,  Pierre Monteux,  Walther Straram,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre Des Concerts Straram  ... 
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  • 17.
    Rubinstein Plays Chopin
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3079638 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Franz Liszt - Master & Magician
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 775542 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 26
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Van Cliburn,  Byron Janis,  Philippe Entremont  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Wallenstein,  Eugene Ormandy,  Fritz Reiner,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    The Liszt Album / Artur Rubinstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 784019 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Alfred Wallenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Pure... Classical
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7915022 Release Date: 07/05/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Alicia De Larrocha,  André Watts,  Anthony Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Robert Salter,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Tafelmusik,  Brandenburg Collegium
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  • 21.
    The Heifetz Collection Vol 32 - Brahms, Dohnanyi, Strauss
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61763 Release Date: 05/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ernö von Dohnányi,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Emanuel Feuermann,  Jascha Heifetz,  William Primrose  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No 8, 14, 23, 26 / Rubinstein
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68882 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 23.
    Toscanini Collection Vol 41 - Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 3, Violin Concerto
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60261 Release Date: 03/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
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  • 24.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2, Rhapsody, Capriccio; Chopin / Rubinstein, Dohnanyi
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5003 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    A Tribute To Spain / Ansermet, Rubinstein, Suisse Romande
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3134 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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