"The great Arthur Rubinstein"
Arthur Rubinstein in 1937
Public DomainArthur Rubinstein in 1937 - Credit: Carl Van Vechten/Wikimedia Commons

Arthur Rubinstein was a world-renowned Polish-American pianist who quickly became identified as a child prodigy after demonstrating perfect pitch and an interest in the piano when he was a toddler.

Rubinstein studied the piano throughout his childhood and teenage years, and then moved to Paris in 1904 to launch his professional career. He made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1906, followed by concerts in Austria, Italy and Russia. Apparently, he was not well received in the United States and, after finding himself destitute in Berlin in 1908, he tried to commit suicide.

Fortunately, Rubinstein turned a corner in his life after this, making his London debut in 1912 and continuing to live there during WWI. At the time of the Second World War, Rubenstein’s career was centred in the United States and he became a US citizen in 1946.

Rubinstein was considered one of the greatest recitalists, concerto soloists, and chamber musicians of the 20th century. Eventually failing eyesight forced him to retire from the stage in 1976, aged 89. He died in Geneva, Switzerland, six years later.