Arthur Rubinstein – Charming Virtuoso

Day 227 of Colourisation Project – December 20

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

32 years ago when the charismatic Arthur Rubinstein passed away (December 20, 1982), the world lost one of its most beloved virtuoso pianists. Described by The New York Times as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century and regarded by many as the 20th century’s foremost interpreter of Chopin, Rubinstein had begun playing the piano at the age of three and continued playing in public for an incredible eight decades.

Artur Rubenstein

Arthur Rubenstein 1968  – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Rubinstein, a Polish born classical pianist became an American citizen at the end of World War 2. Sadly, Rubinstein lost his family in Lodz, Poland, during the war and the Nazis confiscated much of his collection of original manuscripts, manuscript copies and published editions of his work.

After the war he dedicated himself to performing publicly in support of the new state of Israel. Despite his great pain of loss, Rubinstein was known as a witty extrovert and an irrepressible raconteur. His performances were equal measures of sheer virtuosity and joie de vivre. His captivating charm and ability to thrill his audiences contributed to his great popularity. Rubinstein described himself once “as the happiest person he had ever met.”

Rubinstein died in his sleep at his home in Geneva, Switzerland, on this day December 20, 1982, at the age of 95. On the first anniversary of his death, an urn holding his ashes was buried in Jerusalem—as specified in his will—in a dedicated plot now dubbed “Rubinstein Forest” overlooking the Jerusalem Forest.


I have another gem for you today.

Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin’s Polonaise in Ab Major, (Op. 53. Heroic). Enjoy!


“On stage, I will take a chance. There has to be an element of daring in great music-making. These younger ones, they are too cautious. They take the music out of their pockets instead of their hearts.”    Arthur Rubinstein

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