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Anton Rubinstein

Updated on December 1, 2016

Anton Gregor Rubinstein was a Russian composer and pianist. Born in Wechwotynez, November 28, 1829. His parents were Jewish and soon after his birth removed to Moscow. His mother, being a good musician, was his first teacher; he next studied with Villoing, a Frenchman, and at nine played in a concert at Moscow. He accompanied his teacher to Paris, where in 1840 he played before the most distinguished musicians. He was advised by Liszt to study in Germany and after a concert tour in England, Holland and elsewhere, he settled in Berlin to study theory under Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn.

He returned to Russia in 1848, settling in St. Petersburg (now Leningrad). In 1855 he was enabled to visit Germany again for study; here also he succeeded in finding publishers for his compositions, and made concert tours that extended to London and Paris. In 1858 he was again in St. Petersburg, where he was appointed court pianist; in 1859 he became director of the Russian Music Society and in 1862 founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and was director until 1867. He made concert tours in Europe in the following years and appeared in America in 1872-1873. As a piano player he occupied the front rank; in perfection of technique he had few peers and was excelled by none. As a composer he was prolific, brilliant, but showed a lack of self-discipline which prevented his compositions from attaining the highest merit.

Compositions include the operas Feramors (1863), The Demon (1875), The Maccabees (1875), Nero (1879), and Sulamith (1883); the oratorios, Paradise Lost (1855), The Tower of Babel (1872), Moses (1887) ; piano concertos and piano pieces; The Ocean Symphony and other orchestral works.

Anton Gregor Rubinstein died on November 20, 1894

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