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Michael Rabin (1936 - 1972)

To have one’s name attached for posterity to the Guarneri instrument one played is surely one of the highest honours a string player can attain. Such is the repute of the American prodigy Michael Rabin, who Galamian called his greatest pupil of all time—‘no weaknesses, never!’—comparing him only to Perlman.

Rabin, who began lessons with his father, made his first Carnegie Hall appearance at thirteen, being hailed by The New York Times as ‘already an accomplished artist’. Rather incongruously his first engagement with the New York Philharmonic was at the Roxy Theatre, where the orchestra played between films. Fortunately, this Hollywood-style promotion was not pursued, enabling Rabin’s graduation to the serious concert circuit.

Sadly, mental instability and probable drug addiction affected him irrevocably during the 1960s. He had stopped making studio recordings in the late 1950s and suffered a paranoid level of stage-fright, including a terror of falling off the stage. His death (from an accidental fall) at thirty-five robbed the musical world of a striking artist whose every concerto recording is considered seminal.




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