Classical Music

Arthur Rubinstein, Pimp Pianist, Sick-Burns Einstein

Today is Arthur Rubinstein's birthday, and if he were still alive he would be a) 124 years old; and b) almost certainly banging ballerinas in their early twenties. Perhaps the most celebrated pianist of the last century, Rubinstein himself admitted that there were other pianists of equal or perhaps superior skill, but as many of them tended to be reclusive nutjobs, he was pretty much the Bono of the classical-music set.

On top of that, he was famous for being incredibly rock-star. Initially, success alluded him, and he tried to kill himself in Berlin when, broke and destitute, he was about to be evicted from his hotel room. The failed suicide, instead depressing him even further, actually made him fall back in love with life, and he spent the rest of his 95 years on Earth living like a dying man.

"It is said of me that when I was young I divided my time impartially among wine, women and song,'" he once remarked. "I deny this categorically. Ninety percent of my interests were women."

Oh, and wasn't it just? He finally married, at age 45, to a 24-year-old ballerina. That's pretty pimp, but the story isn't that cut-and-dry. See, the ballerina and Lithuanian aristocrat Nela Mylnarska, had actually fallen for Rubenstein at the age of 18, but Rubinstein wasn't interested because he was schtupping the fascism out of an Italian princess at the time.

So, Mynlarska went off and married someone else, but dropped him the second Rubinstein decided he was sick of Italian. Even once they were married, Rubinstein continued Jack Kennedy-ing his way through groupies and baronesses, and at age 90, left his wife for a 30-year-old concert promoter.

We don't want to paint a picture of Rubinstein as some kind of chauvinistic douchebag. He wasn't. He was just very, very passionate about every single thing he ever did, be it food, cigars, music, or women. He was the most famous and celebrated performing pianist of his day, and lived the good life like it was meant to be lived.

Among all his musical acquaintances was Albert Einstein. Everyone knows Eistein today as the man whose mad-scientist brain covered with mad-scientist hair gave us atomic energy, the theory of relativity, and basically opened up God's drafting of the laws of physics for the entire world to see.

None of that would've come to pass, maybe, if Einstein the scientist hadn't also been Einstein the violinist.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner