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Artur Rubinstein
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    (January 28, 1887-December 20, 1982)
    Born in Lodz, Poland
    Classical pianist
    Known for his interpretations of Frederic Chopin
    Won five Grammys
    Became a naturalized US citizen (1946)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1976)
    Named an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire (1977)
    At four, he had business cards printed reading 'Artur the Great Piano Virtuoso.'
    In his teens, he had an affair with his best friend's sister. Then one with the friend's mother. And one with another sister.
    While broke and hounded by creditors, he tried unsuccessfully to hang himself with his belt (1908).
    He kept changing his first name back and forth from the original 'Artur' to an Anglicized 'Arthur.'
    He constantly lived beyond his means and mooched off rich friends.
    When he was 90, he left his wife for a concert promoter sixty years his junior.
    He was fluent in eight languages.
    He had a photographic memory to the degree that in recalling a score, he could visualize any coffee stains on it.
    He said that after his suicide attempt he was 'reborn' and learned to 'love life without condition.'
    His performing career lasted 85 years.
    The New York Times music critic wrote, 'No pianist has put everything together the way Rubinstein has. Others may be superior in specific things, but Rubinstein is the complete pianist.'
    He was known for his joy in performing and said, 'Don't tell [manager Sol] Hurok, but I'd play the piano for nothing, I enjoy it so much.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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