|Arthur Rubinstein in 1957 (Public Domain)|
Although an agnostic, the renowned pianist Arthur ("Artur") Rubinstein resonated strongly with his Jewish heritage.
He had felt a kinship with Israel and was buried in Jerusalem per his request. Rubinstein was from an Ashkenazi family that lost beloved members during the Nazi Holocaust. He announced in 1949 that "he would not appear with the Chicago Symphony if it engaged conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who had remained in Germany during the war."
Nevertheless, Rubinstein focused mainly upon the joy of life, which he loved with a passion. Wikipedia offers these two quotes from him: I have found that if you love life, life will love you back… and People are always setting conditions for happiness… I love life without condition.
Much of Rubinstein's love of life was expressed through music (although women were a close second). By age two he was demonstrating perfect pitch, and by age four he was recognized as a prodigy pianist. He became fluent in eight languages and displayed a remarkable visual and aural memory.
During his eight decades of performing, Rubinstein was particularly known for concert solos and recitals. He was particularly adept with the works of Chopin, but once stated that Brahms was his personal favorite.
Rubinstein remained vibrant almost until his death at age 95. Wikipedia mentions that at age 90, he left his
longsuffering wife for a 33-year-old woman.
Copyright January 28, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved