Anton Rubinstein

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Rubinstein, Anton Grigor’evich


Born Nov. 16, (28), 1829, in the village of Vykhvatintsy, in what is now Rybnitsa Raion, Moldavia SSR; died Nov. 8 (20), 1894, in Peterhof (now Petrodvorets). Russian pianist, composer, conductor, teacher, and musical and public figure.

Descended from a Jewish merchant family of modest means, Rubinstein studied piano under the guidance of his mother and later, with the pianist A. I. Villoing. At age ten he gave a public piano recital in Moscow. Between 1840 and 1843 he gave highly acclaimed concerts in various European cities. His first compositions were published during this period. From 1844 to 1848 he lived abroad in Berlin and Vienna, where he studied music theory with S. Dehn and met Mendelssohn and later, Liszt, both of whom influenced the development of his creative personality. Returning to Russia in 1848, Rubinstein settled in St. Petersburg. He gave piano recitals and appeared as a conductor, performing primarily his own works.

From 1854 to 1858, Rubinstein toured Western Europe. After returning to Russia, he concentrated on public activity related to music. He initiated and supervised the organization of the Russian Music Society in 1859. A member of its board of directors, he also appeared as a conductor and pianist in all of the society’s concerts, and he headed its music classes. In 1862 he founded Russia’s first conservatory, the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he served as director and professor from 1862 to 1867 and from 1887 to 1891. Rubinstein directed the conservatory’s orchestra and choir and taught the piano, ensemble, and orchestration courses. Tchaikovsky was one of his students.

In 1872–73, Rubinstein made a triumphant tour of the USA with the violinist H. Wieniawski. In 1885–86 he gave a series of “historical concerts” in the major cities of Russia and Western Europe, describing the evolution of piano music from its origins to the works of contemporary Russian composers. During the last years of his life (1891–94), Rubinstein spent most of his time in Dresden, making trips to various cities for benefit concerts and focusing on literary pursuits, composition, and teaching. J. Hofmann studied with him in Dresden.

One of the greatest pianists, Rubinstein was the founder of the Russian pianistic school. An inspired improvisational quality was characteristic of his artistry, which often violated the traditional canons of performance. As a composer he left a large legacy in all the principal genres. Among his best compositions is the opera The Demon (1871, based on M. Iu. Lermontov’s poem; staged 1875, Mariinskii Theater, St. Petersburg). He wrote the operas The Children of the Steppe (1861), Feramors (based on T. Moore’s poem-legend Lalla Rookh, 1863), The Tower of Babel (1870), The Maccabees (1875), Nero (1877, staged 1879), The Merchant Kalashnikov (1879, based on Lermontov’s poem; staged 1880, Mariinskii Theater), and The Careworn One (based on D. V. Averkiev’s novella The Night of Scented Hop, 1889). Rubinstein composed six symphonies, five concerti for piano and orchestra, many piano works, art songs, and songs (for example, The Persian Songs). Among his publications are his Autobiography, 1829–1889 (1889) and Music and Its Representatives: A Discussion About Music (1891). Rubinstein was responsible for the organization of an international pianists’ and composers’ competition (1890).


Barenboim, L. A. A. G. Rubinshtein: Zhizn’, artistichesskii put’, tvorchestvo, muzykal’no-obshchestvennaia deiatel’nost’, vols. 1–2. Leningrad, 1957–62.
Na urokakh Antona Rubinshteina (edited, compiled, and with an introduction by L. A. Barenboim). Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
References in periodicals archive ?
Others beside Handel and Beethoven have used the story of the Maccabees; there is an opera on the subject by Anton Rubinstein, and Judith has appeared in music in operas by Honegger and Goossens, and in an oratorio by Parry.
In many ways this oft-quoted passage catches the essence of Anton Rubinstein (1829-94).
Using specific examples from Anton Rubinstein recitals of 1885-1886 as its point of departure, the Guide offers readers a nuts-and-bolts approach to the "new" pedaling concepts from 1886.
The score or so of native works examined individually in what follows appear as nearly as possible in chronological order, although the two major practitioners of the form, Anton Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, are sensibly given a chapter apiece; these flank a single chapter on all the other composers, who are designated either 'nationalists' or 'eclectics'.
Rubinstein may well be considered the odd man out in this group, since he is represented by an opera and not by an oratorio like the other three composers; the author's decision to include Rubinstein's Christus in a book about oratorio calls for some comment, especially when the work has been treated so intelligently in a book which receives several citations in this study, Annakatrin Tauschel's Anton Rubinstein ah Opernkomponist (Berlin: Ernst kuhn, 2001).
From 1845 to 1876 Leopold de Meyer, Henri Herz, Sigismund Thalberg, Anton Rubinstein and Hans von Bulow dazzled audiences; made and broke alliances with tour managers, other performers, newspapers and piano manufacturers; and considerably enriched their purses along the way.
The performance pendulum swung to the other extreme in the second half of the century, when pianists like Tausig and Anton Rubinstein programmed hours of music for one sitting, what Hamilton why calls "the value-for-money event" (p.
Later portions of the book offer the pianist's descriptions of his encounters with such notables as Anton Rubinstein, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss II, Gustav Mahler, and Ferruccio Busoni.
Articles on amateur music making, Anton Rubinstein in America, George Whitefield Chadwick's Melpomene, and English-language opera in late-nineteenth-century America.
By the time Lott's final two virtuosos, Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) and Hans von Bulow (1830-1894), arrived in the 1870s, the United States had changed substantially from the period when de Meyer first appeared almost thirty years earlier.
Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Hans von Billow, Muzio Clementi, Johann Baptist Cramer, Dvorak, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saens, Domenico Scarlatti, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Weber, and several other lesser-known composers.
Finally, the third aspect of acculturation and migration is defined by activities of foreigners in Croatian areas, such as the article on the composer Tomaso Cecchini by Marco di Pasquale; Miljenko Grgic's study of maestri di cappella and organists in the Cathedral of Split during the second half of the nineteenth century; or visiting orchestras, ensembles, and musicians in Zagreb from 1815 to 1940 (including Anton Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Pablo Casals, Sergey Prokofiev, and Igor Stravinsky), by Trpimir Matasovic.