Meeting Arthur Rubinstein

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Welcome to I’m Robert Estrin and today I’m going to share my personal story of meeting the great pianist, Arthur Rubinstein! I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have heard many great concert pianists over the years. Beginning with my father, Morton Estrin. A great concert pianist right in my home! His studio where he did most of his teaching was in our home. So I got to hear so many great students of his and the piano was a big part of our household. I have heard a lot of great pianists in my life. One such pianist is Vladimir Horowitz.

The first time I heard Horowitz is quite a story in itself.

Horowitz was making one of his famous comebacks. He would take time off from performing so when he came back to the concert stage, it was always a major event. He was performing at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. It was limited to two tickets per person and we knew it was going to sell out quickly. I was attending the Manhattan School of Music at the time. Some other students and I decided to camp out overnight at Lincoln Center. We got there at about 8:30 the night before, tickets didn’t go on sale until the next morning around 6:00 or 7:00. And I was number 311 in line already!

Interestingly, I had a brief encounter with Vladimir Horowitz and Mrs Horowitz, who came by at about 2:30 in the morning with coffee and donuts for everyone in line. I thought that was really classy. A couple months later he was performing at Carnegie Hall. My teacher Constance Keane was really good friends with the Horowitz’s and was able to get me tickets, as many as I wanted. And I had box seats! So that was a lot easier.

Meeting Arthur Rubinstein

Rubinstein on his 80th birthday gave a concert and our family went. And it was an incredible experience. Even though I was just a kid, I was captivated by the beauty of the tone. It was an amazing experience. After the performance my family decided to go backstage to say something to the great Rubinstein. I was young, but I wasn’t so young. I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit how old I was. I was trying to think about what to say to this legendary pianist. But in the moment, all that came out of me was “You must be a very busy man.” To this day my family still mocks me a little bit for that.

So my advice to any of you, if you’re going to meet a great artist of any sort, think in advance what you might say to them. If I could only turn the clock back, I think of all the things I could have asked the great Arthur Rubinstein. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this story – and there’s lots more videos coming your way. Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at, Your Online Piano Store.