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"In 1904, Rubinstein moved to Paris to launch his career in earnest. There he met the composers Maurice Ravel and Paul Dukas and the violinist Jacques Thibaud. He also played Camille Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2 in the presence of the composer. Through the family of Juliusz Wertheim (to whose understanding of Chopin's genius Rubinstein attributed his own inspiration in the works of that composer) he formed friendships with the violinist Paul Kochanski and composer Karol Szymanowski.Rubinstein in 1906

Rubinstein made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1906, and thereafter toured the United States, Austria, Italy, and Russia. According to his own testimony and that of his son in François Reichenbach's film L'Amour de la vie (1969), however, he was not well received in the United States, and in 1907, when he found himself destitute and desperate in a Berlin hotel room, hounded by creditors and threatened with being thrown out into the street, he made a failed attempt to hang himself. Subsequently he said that he felt "reborn" and endowed with an unconditional love of life. In 1912, he made his London debut, and found a home there in the Edith Grove, Chelsea musical salon of Paul and Muriel Draper, in company with Kochanski, Igor Stravinsky, Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals, Pierre Monteux and others.

Rubinstein stayed in London during World War I, giving recitals and accompanying the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. In 1916 and 1917, he made his first tours in Spain and South America where he was wildly acclaimed. It was during those tours that he developed a lifelong enthusiasm for the music of Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. He was the dedicatee of Villa-Lobos's Rudepoêma and Stravinsky's Trois mouvements de Petrouchka.

It was his disgust with Germany's conduct during the First World War that led Rubinstein never to play there again. His last performance in Germany was in 1914.

In the fall of 1919 Rubinstein toured the English Provinces with soprano Emma Calvé and tenor Vladimir Rosing.

In 1921 he gave two American tours, travelling to New York with Paul Kochanski (they remained close friends until Kochanski's death in 1934) and Karol Szymanowski. The autumn voyage was the occasion of Kochanski's permanent migration to the USA.

In 1932, the pianist, who stated he neglected his technique in his early years, withdrew from concert life for several months of intensive study and practice.

During the Second World War, Rubinstein's career became centered in the United States. Impresario Sol Hurok insisted Rubinstein be billed as Artur (his Polish birth name) for his American concerts, even though the pianist referred to himself as Arthur when in English-speaking countries. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1946. He expressed his warm feelings for his native country when he played on June 26, 1945, at the San Francisco Opera during the inauguration of the United Nations.

Although best known as a recitalist and concerto soloist, Rubinstein was also considered an outstanding chamber musician, partnering with such luminaries as Henryk Szeryng, Jascha Heifetz, Pablo Casals, Gregor Piatigorsky, and the Guarneri Quartet. Rubinstein recorded much of the core piano repertoire, particularly that of the Romantic composers. With the exception of the Études, he recorded most of the works of Chopin. He was one of the earliest champions of the Spanish and South American composers and of French composers who, in the early 20th century, were still considered "modern" such as Debussy and Ravel. In addition, Rubinstein was the first champion of the music of his compatriot Karol Szymanowski. Rubinstein, in conversation with Alexander Scriabin, named Brahms as his favorite composer, a response that enraged Scriabin.

Rubinstein, who was fluent in eight languages, held much of the repertoire, not simply that of the piano, in his formidable memory. According to his memoirs, he learned César Franck’s Symphonic Variations while on a train en route to the concert, without the benefit of a piano, practicing passages in his lap. Rubinstein described his memory as photographic, to the extent that he would visualize an errant coffee stain while recalling a score.

In the mid-1970s, Rubinstein's eyesight began to deteriorate and he retired from the stage at age 89 in May 1976, giving his last concert at London's Wigmore Hall, where he had first played nearly 70 years before." - Wikipedia
This biography was most recently edited by...
iecontent1 - 28 Jan 2010
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