- Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 34 (1885) – dedicated to Franz Liszt; published in Warsaw, 1931
Zarębski was a Polish composer and pianist. He was born and died in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, and was a pupil of Franz Liszt. In his works, Zarębski referred to Liszt and to Frédéric Chopin. He created solo songs from the writings of Adam Mickiewicz and Włodzimierz Wolski.
Two years before his death he had to put an end to his career as a virtuoso as he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, throwing himself into teaching (he had been appointed professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in 1880) and composing. It was in these last years that he composed his most striking music, creating such compositions as the five movements Les roses et les épines on the basis of an advanced harmony. Though he continued composing nearly exclusively for the piano, the summit of his output would be his 1885 cyclical Piano Quintet in G minor.
Liszt orchestrated his Danses galiciennes in 1881 (S. 364).
His date of birth is also listed as 28 February 1854.
Zarębski’s mother was his first piano teacher, and he gave concerts in the salons of Zytomierz from the age of ten. Having completed his gymnasium education with honours in 1870, he left for Vienna to study composition under Franz Krenn and piano under Josef Dachs at the Conservatory of the Society of Friends of Music. He graduated two years later, with two gold medals, even though the curriculum assumed a six-year education. In 1873 he went to St Petersburg and having studied for three years, he passed an exam and obtained a "free artist" diploma. In 1874 he left for Rome and stayed there until 1875, studying the piano under Franz Liszt, his long-time friend-to-be. Liszt would look after Zarębski, appearing with him in concerts and using his contacts to support the publishing of Zarębski’s works.
Zarębski’s career as a virtuoso pianist started with concerts in Odessa and Kiev in the spring of 1874. His performances in Rome, Naples, Constantinople, Warsaw, Paris, London and other European cities were a huge success. He developed an interest in Edouard Mangeot’s new construction, the two-keyboard piano, and in a matter of two months mastered playing it. He developed a repertory for this new instrument and performed at the Grand Exhibition in Paris in 1878 to a wide acclaim. He assumed the position of professor of the piano master class at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and settled in Brussels. Health problems (TB) made him give up almost all of concertising activity from 1883.