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In Search of a New Michelangelo Among Pianists

In 1890, Anton Rubinstein founded a piano competition in St. Petersburg that would bear his name. In 2003, his idea was revived in Dresden. On October 3, the finale of the 2009 competition will take place in the Semperoper. On a Bösendorfer.

180 years ago, on November 28, 1829, Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein was born in Vykhvatinets, a small town in the then-Russian governorate of Podolia. As a nine-year-old, the highly gifted Rubinstein performed his first public concert in Moscow.

In 1842, the child prodigy came to Vienna for the first time and played two concerts in the renowned Musikverein, the second one on a Bösendorfer piano. The concert’s great success led to the breakthrough of the young Bösendorfer factory’s instruments on the concert stage as well as to a lifelong friendship between Anton Rubinstein and the Bösendorfer company.

Anton Rubinstein - a portrait of the great musician by Ilya Repin

Anton Rubinstein - a portrait of the great musician by Ilya Repin

Anton Rubinstein Piano Competition

Anton Rubinstein, once described as the “Michelangelo among pianists” by legendary musician and music critic Hans von Bülow, was a driving force in the music world during his lifetime, as a pianist, composer and founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1890 he founded a competition for piano and composition, which he named after himself. The model was new and for the first time established the concept of a competition open to participants from all countries and which would take place regularly.

(The model for Anton Rubinstein may have been the Bösendorfer Piano Competition, founded in 1889 by Ludwig Bösendorfer and the then-conservatory of the Society of the Friends of Music. In keeping with Bösendorfer’s deed of foundation, this competition was also open to participants from all countries; the prerequisite for participation was and remains the completion of a program of study at the Vienna University of Music.)

Among the winners of the Rubinstein Competition are famous pianists including Ferruccio Busoni (composition), Nikolai Medtner (piano), Edwin Fischer (piano) and Wilhelm Backhaus (piano), who in 1953 became the first pianist to be awarded the Bösendorfer Ring, which could be worn for life.

FORUM TIBERIUS

The criteria of internationality, continuity and, last but not least, high quality also distinguish the “new” Anton Rubinstein Piano Competition, revived in 2003 by the FORUM TIBERIUS in Dresden. (Anton Rubinstein spent the final years of his life in the Saxon capital.) The FORUM TIBERIUS—International Forum for Culture and Enterprise—was founded in 2003 to give new impetus to the dialog between culture and enterprise. With the Anton G. Rubinstein Piano Competition, the FORUM TIBERIUS already seeks, in the six short years of its existence, to advance to become one of Europe’s most important piano competitions promoting young musical talents.

The young artists participating have the opportunity to introduce themselves to a large network of international experts. Renowned concert pianists, professors and conductors, as well as important representatives of concert promoters, agents and media, accompany the competition, which takes place every two years, as jurors. A prize in Dresden can decisively accelerate a young career...

Dresden has one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Here, in the Semperoper, the grand finale of the 2009 Anton G. Rubinstein Piano will take place on October 3.

Dresden has one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Here, in the Semperoper, the grand finale of the 2009 Anton G. Rubinstein Piano will take place on October 3.

2009 grand finale in the Semperoper

In search of young master pianists, the 2009 fourth international Anton G. Rubinstein Piano Competition aspires to new heights. The six semifinalists of this years’s competition have been recently selected: six of the 100 pianists who auditioned worldwide; 15 of them succeeded in being invited to the elimination rounds in Dresden. According to the jury, the level of the candidates’ interpretations was the highest to date since the re-founding of the competition in 2003.

A terrific SEMIFINAL round is thus announced for OCTOBER 1 and 2 in the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden. And a tremendous FINALE on OCTOBER 3, in a most dignified atmosphere and on a most dignified instrument: a BÖSENDORFER model 290 Imperial will await the best pianists for the grand finale in the opera. A concert grand unexcelled in power and sonority, from the Viennese manufacturer that Anton Rubinstein had already grown to love. The noble instrument will be onstage in one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world: the SEMPEROPER in Dresden will be the site of the musical contest between the three most talented competitors for the victory laurel.

Those who do not yet have tickets should call the ticket hotline in Dresden immediately: 0351 / 4911705; email: bestellung@semperoper.de. (rulö)

Thanks to the dedication of the Klavierhaus Weber, the young artists will already have Bösendorfer grand pianos available to them in the semifinal round. On the final day of the competition, the winner will be crowned on Bösendorfer’s flagship model 290.

Thanks to the dedication of the Klavierhaus Weber, the young artists will already have Bösendorfer grand pianos available to them in the semifinal round. On the final day of the competition, the winner will be crowned on Bösendorfer’s flagship model 290.