Arthur Rubinstein is widely considered one of the world’s greatest-ever interpreters of Chopin.
But this esteemed pianist also had a deep love for Israel, a kinship that is still reflected today in the Jewish state’s Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Master Competition.
Rubinstein was born January 28, 1887, in Lodz, Poland to a Jewish family. The music genius showed a profundity for the piano at an early age, demonstrating his talent for perfect pitch by 2 years old.
By the age of 7, Rubinstein was performing full pieces for small audiences and at 10 he moved to Berlin to further his music studies.
In 1904 Rubeistein began living and performing in Paris, mingling with the French capital’s musical elite. He debuted at Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall in 1906 and went on to tour the US, Austria, Italy and Russia.
In 1912 he made a new home for himself in London, giving recitals in England throughout World War I. That war had a profound influence on the emerging pianist, who became disgusted by Germany’s behavior in the scourge. He never played Germany again.
Between the two world wars Rubinstein did many tours and set up residence in California in 1937. He would become a US citizen nearly a decade later.
In his personal life, Rubinstein was passionate, marrying his sweetheart Nela as a young man. The couple had four children that survived into adulthood, but divorced when Rubinstein was 90 years old. He left her for a classical music manager—Annabelle Whitestone, who was just 33 at the time.
Outside of marital affairs, Rubinstein was an ardent Zionist and deeply proud of his Jewish heritage. He visited Israel several times in his life and gave numerous concerts there, often performing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rubinstein died in Switzerland on December 20, 1982, at the age of 95. His ashes are buried in Jerusalem, in an area known as Rubinstein Forest.
Famous quotes from Arthur Rubinstein:
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”
“To be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have houses, music, paintings – it’s all a miracle. I have adopted the technique of living life miracle to miracle.”
“Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set any condition.”
“Life is the game that must be played, this truth at least, good friends, we know; so live and laugh, nor be dismayed as one by one the phantoms go.”
“Of course there is no formula for success, except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life, and what it brings.”