Happy birthday Anton Rubinstein!


Anton Rubinstein (November 28, 1829—November 20, 1894) was a Russian pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher. He founded the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. He is considered one of Russia's greatest piano virtuosos. He composed operas, orchestral works, piano solos. He is especially known for his seven consecutive concerts that covered the history of piano.




Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein was born in the village of Vikhvatinets near Odessa, Russia. His father owned a pencil factory and his mother was a skilled musician. She gave him piano lessons until he was five years old, when he was taken on by Alexander Villoing as a student free of charge. He made his first public appearance at the age of nine. (Image source)

Not long after, his mother sent him to Paris to attempt to get into the Paris Conservatoire, but he was rejected. He remained in Paris for a year, which led to him performing at the Salle Érard for an audience that included Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. After input from both Chopin and Liszt, Villoing took Rubinstein on a concert tour of Europe and Western Russia.

By the time a couple of years had passed and Rubinstein was well-versed the music of the day, he was invited to perform with his brother for Tsar Nicholas I and the Imperial family.

Rubinstein then spent a year in Vienna, unsuccessfully soliciting the help of Liszt and possible patrons. He returned to Russia to teach and give concerts in Saint Petersburg.

In 1852, his first opera, Dmitry Donskoy, was performed at the Bolshoy Theater in Saint Petersburg. He followed with three one-act operas and conducted several other pieces. Soon, he decided to go abroad again on her first substantial concert tour as an adult. Soon, he was considered a piano virtuoso.


He eventually settled in Saint Petersburg and in 1862, founded the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, the first music school in Russia. Music had, until that point, been taught almost entirely by non-Russians, so to have music taught in Russian was novel. It was controversial from both sides of the spectrum—some felt it was outlandish to teach music in Russian and others, such as the famous Five (Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Borodin) felt it wasn't nationalist enough. (Image source)

It was during these years that Rubinstein came upon his greatest composition successes, beginning with his Fourth Piano Concerto in 1864, followed by his orchestral work Don Quixote, his opera Ivan IV Grozniy, and his opera The Demon.

From 1872-1873, Rubinstein toured the United States, earning enough money to be financially secure for the rest of his life.

The 1880s saw Rubinstein return once again to Saint Petersburg, where he continued to conduct, perform, and teach for the substantial remainder of his life.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 28 November 2014
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