(contribution by Phil King <philkingtexasonline.net>)
Significant Works: 20 operas, including Der Demon; 5 piano concertos; 6 Symphonies, including "Ocean" (the most successful symphonic work of the later 19th century); many vocal, chamber, piano and instrumental solo, choral, and other various works pertaining to every aspect of composition.
Anton Rubinstein’s brother, Nikolai Rubinstein, was also a composer and pianist.
After early studies with his mother he studied piano in St. Petersberg with Villoing, then composition with Dehn in Vienna. Rubinstein embarked upon a concert career that covered his entire life making him famous on three continents, including a sucessful tour in America. He was regarded as the greatest pianist after Liszt, some critics even placing him above Liszt. Aside from his concert career, Rubinstein was the first truly professional musician from Russia, and established the first organized education for music in his country which is what the current Russian tradition is built upon. He established Russia’s first conservatoire (St. Petersburg), and in the capacity of its director and composition instructor, instructed none other than Tchaikovsky in compostion and theoretical analysis. His compositions have suffered neglect since his death for several reasons. He was a jew by birth (though converted) at a time when anti-semitism was prevelent in musical circles in Europe. He was also a throw-back as far as musical taste and form are concearned, being influnced by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, and little else after them. Rubinstein was also constantly at odds with the Russian Five because of his disdain for nationalism and because his compositional style was very cosmopolitan.
Famous Quote: “To the Germans I am a Russian, to the Russians a German; to the Christian I am a jew, to the jews a Christians; to the Classicist I am a Wagnerite, to the Wagnerites a reactionary; I am neither fish nor fowl — I am an unfinished man”.