„Russians call me German, Germans call me Russian, Jews call me a Christian, Christians a Jew. Pianists call me a composer, composers call me a pianist. The classicists think me a futurist, and the futurists call me a reactionary. My conclusion is that I am neither fish nor fowl – a pitiful individual.“
Russian-born Anton Rubinstein (1829 – 1894) composer, conductor and virtuoso pianist, seems to have been „on the road“ for the greatest part of his life. He studied and gave concerts in Paris and Berlin where he met and was supported by Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer before he was sixteen.
For years he toured all over Europe before he returned to St. Petersburg where he founded and lead the first music conservatory in Russia.
In the 1872/3 season he toured the U.S. giving 215 concerts in 239 days. He would perform a series of „historical recitals“; seven consecutive concerts covering the history of piano music – each concert at least four hours long, not counting the encores, „with which he was also generous“.
And he composed six symphonies, numerous piano- and ensemble works, twelve operas, oratorios, songs, concertos…
In his old age, he received a yearly pension from the Tsar Alexander III and was made citizen of honour in St. Petersburg. Not bad for a „pitiful individual“.