Anton Rubinstein

From Academic Kids

Anton Rubinstein
Anton Rubinstein

Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein (Анто́н Григо́рьевич Рубинште́йн) (November 28, 1829November 20, 1894) was a Russian pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist, he was regarded as a rival to Franz Liszt and has been described by historians as one of the greatest virtuosos in history.



Rubinstein was born in Vikhvatinets. He learned the piano from an early age, and made his first public appearance at the age of nine. He was taken to Paris, and then to Berlin, where he studied composition. He then moved to Vienna, where he briefly taught, before returning to Russia in 1848 where he worked as a musician to the sister-in-law of the Tsar.

He began to tour again as a pianist in the late 1850s, before settling in St. Petersburg, where in 1862 he founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the first music school in Russia. He took a teaching post there, instructing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky amongst others. He also continued to make tours as a pianist, and spent a short stint teaching in Dresden towards the end of his life.

Rubinstein died in Peterhof, having suffered from heart disease for some time.


Missing image
Rubinstein's portrait by Ilya Repin.

Rubinstein was a prolific composer, writing no less than twenty operas (notably Demon, written after one of Lermontov's Romantic poems), five piano concertos, six symphonies and a large number of solo piano works along with a substantial output of works for chamber ensemble, two concertos for cello and one for violin, free-standing orchestral works and tone poems (including one entitled Don Quixote).

Rubinstein was quite a widely performed composer in his lifetime, but following his death, his works were largely ignored. It has been suggested that this may be due to the fact that he was a Jew, and anti-semitism was very prevalent in Germany, the musical hub of Europe, at that time. It has also been suggested that he suffered because he did not belong to any particular music "camp": his music demonstrates none of the nationalism of The Five, and in fact he spoke out against Russian nationalism, leading to arguments with Mily Balakirev. He was also not much influenced by Richard Wagner, whose work was held in very high regard at the end of the 19th century. His music is more often compared to Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, who were both seen as somewhat old-fashioned at the time of Rubinstein's death.

Towards the end of the 20th century, his work has been performed a little more often, and has often met with positive criticism. Rubinstein's pieces remain somewhat obscure for the time being, however. Amongst his slightly better known works as the opera The Demon, his Piano Concerto No. 4, and his Symphony No. 2, known as The Ocean.


Anton Rubinstein was the brother of the pianist and composer Nikolai Rubinstein, but was no relation to the 20th century pianist, Arthur Rubinstein.

Selected Worklist

  • Symphonies
    • Symphony opus 40, in F major
    • Symphony opus 42, in C major Ocean
    • Symphony opus 56, in A
    • Symphony opus 95 in D minor Dramatic
    • Symphony opus 107, in G minor
    • Symphony opus 111, in A minor
  • Assorted orchestral works
    • Triumphal Overture, opus 43
    • Ivan IV, opus 79
    • Don Quixote, opus 87
    • Eroica, opus 110
    • Suite, opus 119
  • Concertos
    • Violin Concerto opus 46, in G
    • Violoncello Concerto opus 65 in A minor
    • Violoncello Concerto opus 96, in D minor
    • Piano Concertos
      • Piano Concerto opus 25 in E minor
      • Piano Concerto opus 35 in F major
      • Piano Concerto opus 45 in G major
      • Piano Concerto opus 70 in D minor
      • Fantasy for piano with or without orch opus 84 in C
      • Piano Concerto opus 94 in E-flat major
      • Concertstück opus 113
  • Chamber works in order of number of instruments
    • Sonata for Piano opus 12 in E minor
    • Sonata for Piano opus 20 in C minor
    • Sonata for Piano opus 41 in F major
    • Sonata for Piano opus 100 in A minor
    • Sonata for Piano Four-Hands opus 89
    • Sonata for Violin and Piano opus 13 in G major
    • Sonata for Violin and Piano opus 19 in A minor
    • Sonata for Violin and Piano opus 98 in B minor
    • Sonata for Viola and Piano opus 49 in F minor
    • Sonata for Cello and Piano opus 18 in D major
    • Sonata for Cello and Piano opus 39 in G major
    • Piano Trio opus 15 number 1 in F
    • Piano Trio opus 15 number 2 in G minor
    • Piano Trio opus 52 in B-flat major
    • Piano Trio opus 85 in A major
    • Piano Trio opus 108 in C minor
    • Quartet for Piano and Strings opus 66
    • Quintet for Piano and Winds opus 55 in F major
    • Quintet for Piano and Strings opus 99 in G minor
    • Quintet for Strings opus 59 in F major (arranged also as Piano Quartet)
    • Sextet for Strings opus 97 in D major
    • Octet opus 9 for piano, strings and winds (from a first attempt at a piano concerto and entitled Concerto di camera)
    • String quartets
      • Three quartets, opus 17 (in G major, C minor and F major. First two recorded, slow movement of op. 17 no. 2 nicknamed Music of the Spheres and had a recording in the first decades of the 20th century also.)
      • Three quartets, opus 47 (in E minor, B flat major, and D minor)
      • Two quartets, opus 90
      • Two quartets, opus 106 (in A flat major and F minor)
  • Assorted piano works
    • Album de Peterhof, op. 75
    • Kamennoi-Ostrow (sp?), Cloister scene, op. 10 no. 22
    • Melody in F, op. 3 no. 1
    • Ondine (étude), op. 1
    • Six soirees á Saint-Petersburg, op. 44
  • Operas

External links

de:Anton Grigorjewitsch Rubinschtein he:אנטון רובינשטיין ja:アントン・ルービンシュタイン no:Anton Rubinstein


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