Michael Rabin: America's Virtuoso Violinist

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Hal Leonard Corporation, 2005 - Music - 248 pages
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(Amadeus). This first, authorized biography of one of the 20th century's greatest violinists chronicles the life of Michael Rabin from his young boyhood to his premature death at the age of 35. By his teen years in the 1950s, he had already joined the ranks of violin greats and he was being compared to Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, and Francescatti. Lovingly detailed, rich in music history and drama, this biography documents the many forces that shaped Rabin's extraordinary life and career, from his meteoric rise to his surprising decline. Feinstein charts Rabin's many artistic successes, as well as his struggles to make the transition from wunderkind to adult virtuoso, and sheds light on the true reasons for his fall from grace, debunking the many rumors that surrounded him during that time. Feinstein also clarifies the facts relating to Rabin's sudden death. What emerges is a unique profile of a prodiginous talent and a tragic life.

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Michael Rabin was America's greatest violinists, and I rarely use superlatives. I knew one of Michael's classmates and took great interest in him; not just as a violinist, but as a person. His life was solitary & short. This is one of the best biographies I have ever read. It's extremely accurate & thorough.
Here are some facts derived from the book: Michael Rabil's favorite violinist was Heifetz. David Oistrakh was in awe of Michael's technical ability. Michael was in rehab for drug addiction 3 times. Michael loved his bicycle and model airplanes more than anything. Michael had an older brother, Jay, who was probably as talented as Michael, but he had died before Michael was born.
Michael was a child without much of a childhood. He was a genius who was very simpleminded. Paganini was child's play for him. Mozart was his nemesis. He was a boy with the stereotypical Jewish mother who drove him crazy. When Michael died, his mother chose Mozart as the music for his funeral, and the funeral was more about Michael's musical abilities than of Michael as a person.
Michael Rabin is mentioned several times in Life Ain't Kind, an existentialistic novel about the struggles of a young violinist/pianist.I highly recommend both books.


Nature and Nurture
W1ll1e Sp1elbergs L1ttle HalfS1ze V1ol1n
wunderk1nder never cease
Carnegie Hall
In Pursuit of Perfection
Triumph and Trouble
The Grand Tour
Friendship Love Lost
The Heights of Success
Calam1ty 161
The Rab1n Sound Falls S1lent
With Time Comes Clar1ty

First Love Rebell1on

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About the author (2005)

Anthony Feinstein is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

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