JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Seeking: Composer Anton RUBINSTEIN #general

Alexander Sharon

""Christian Janus Køster"" wrote

I am looking for information concerning the famous russian composer Anton
RUBINSTEIN. I have been researching my family for three years now and >from
different parts of the world I have been told that there is some
between by great grand father Moses Rubinstein >from East prussia and Anton
Rubinstein >from Russia. The relatives that has passed on this information
heard the story >from their parents, grandparents and greatgrand parents.So
I think
it is time to find out whether this story is true or just a
"family-legend". I
have been unable to find any genealogical information about Anton
Rubinstein on
the internet. Please help!
Janus Køster

I believe that this is rather a family legend since Anton Rubinstein family
is >from the small settlement Vykhvatintsy situated in the Podolia region of
Ukraine where Anton was born in 1829. Village Vykhvatintsy is located in
the vicinity of the known larger Jewish Pale territory towns of Khmelnitsky
(ex Proskurov), Satanov, Gorodok and Yarmolintsy. This is far away >from the
Eastern Prussia.

Rubinstein family was converted in Anton's yearly age, it is known that his
six years younger brother Nikolai (a founder of Russian Musical Society and
St. Petersburg Conservatory) was already born in Moscow in 1835 which was
normally off limits for the Jews.

Little is known about Anton Rubinstein parents - his father name was Grigory
(presumably originally it was known as Gershon), he was an industrialist who
opened factory in Moscow in 1835, the year when his younger son, Nikolai was
born. I could not locate even the first name of Anton's mother - it is known
that she was German and Anton's first piano instructor till the professional
piano teacher A.I. Villoing took care of young Anton. Villoing took Anton
for the European tour (1840-1843) when he was just 11 - this tour has
introduced young prodigy to the Russian Imperial family members during his
visit to Netherlands which was important for his future since the Russian
Emperor's Nicholas I sister - in law, The Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna
(formerly Princess of Saxe-Altenhurg) took young Anton under her wings.

Only known to me Anton's relation to Prussia was his touring of the Prussian
Empire in his very young age and two years of his family residency in Berlin
(1844-1846) where Anton took piano lessons >from Siegfried Dehn and met
another famous (and also converted) Jewish musicians Mendelssohn and

Although his was as famous pianist, his compositions have suffered neglect
since his death for several reasons. One of the reason was his Jewish
background at a time when anti-Semitism was prevalent in musical circles in
Europe. He was also a throw-back as far as musical taste and form are
concerned, being influenced by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin, and little
else after them. Another reason was that Rubinstein was also constantly at
odds with the famous Russian Five (Cui, Mussogrsky, Borodin, Glinka,
Tchaikovsky) because of his disdain for nationalism and because his
compositional style was very cosmopolitan.
The famous Rubinstein's quote: "To the Germans I am a Russian, to the
Russians a German; to the Christian I am a Jew, to the Jews a Christians; to
the Classicist I am a Wagnerite, to the Wagnerites a reactionary; I am
neither fish nor fowl - I am an unfinished man".

BTW, there is no relation between born in Lodz, Polish Jewish pianist Artur
Rubinstein and Anton Rubinstein.

Alexander Sharon
Calgary, Ab, Canada

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