Артур Рубинштейн

January 28, 1887 - Lodz (Poland) — December 20, 1982 - Geneva (Switzerland)

Arthur Rubinstein in 1970 © Eva Rubinstein


One of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Rubinstein was gifted enough to recognize the technical shortcomings of his extrovert, youthful playing, and to re-learn his repertoire in mid-life, adding control and discipline to the natural flair that had made his reputation. Linked to the 19th-century Romantics through his champion Joseph Joachim, he nevertheless established a modern, clean-cut and unaffected style of pianism, while, in the music of Brahms and Chopin in particular, retaining a warmth of tone and manner. As well as his solo appearances, he gave frequent chamber music recitals and continued to perform in public until the age of nearly ninety.

  • 1897: Sent to Berlin for studies with Heinrich Barth (piano) and Robert Kahn and Max Bruch (music theory) in Berlin.
  • 1900: Début in Berlin with Mozart’s Piano Concerto, K. 488, with Joachim conducting.
  • 1903: Studies briefly in Switzerland with Paderewski.
  • 1904: Début in Paris playing the Saint-Saëns Second Piano Concerto, to be his showpiece during his lifetime.
  • 1906: Début tour across the USA, to less than enthusiastic reviews.
  • 1914–18: Works as a military musician during the First World War.
  • 1916–17: Tours Spain and South America, and discovers what becomes a lifelong love of the music of Falla, Granados, Albéniz and Villa-Lobos.
  • 1932–37: Withdraws to refine his technique and re-learn his repertoire.
  • 1946: Becomes an American.
  • 1950–70s: Continues to perform with astonishing energy; plays chamber music with many leading musicians, such as Heifetz, Szeryng and the Guarneri String Quartet.
  • 1974: The Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition is founded in Tel Aviv.
  • 1976: Retires from the concert stage; is awarded the United States’ Medal of Freedom.
  • 1980: My Many Years, the second part of his autobiography, is published (after My Young Years in 1973).
  • 1994: Awarded posthumously a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, having already won ten Grammys during his life.
  • 1999: His complete authorized recordings are published – on 94 CDs.