The Lithuanian pianist, Mûza Rubackyté (Moo-za Ru-but-skee-teh) was born into a family of musicians. At the age of 7, she remarkably made her professional debut in the capital city of Vilnius performing Haydn’s D Major Piano Concerto with the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra. Six years later at 13, she won First Prize in the country’s National Young Artists Competition allowing her admittance to the renowned Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory where she studied with the likes of celebrated pianist/teachers as Yakov Flier, Mikhail Voskressensky and Bela Davidovitch. During her conservatory period, she entered and won First Prize in the Tallinn (Estonia) Piano Competition and shortly thereafter, was awarded the Conservatory’s First Prize in three disciplines: solo piano, chamber music and accompaniment. She continued garnering awards by winning the first of her three “major” international piano competitions such as the highly regarded “All-Union” in St. Petersburg which named her, at the time, one of the “best pianists” in the Soviet Union.
Mûza Rubackyté traveled to every imaginable corner of the land appearing with the orchestras of the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Belarus to the great ensembles of Moscow, Vilnius and St. Petersburg. There were special “under control” orchestral tours and recitals outside the Soviet Union to Cairo, Egypt, Prague, Czechoslovakia and Budapest, Hungary. Her artistry found her performing under such maestri as Khatchaturian, Neeme Järvi, Gergiev, Kogan, Kachidze, Jordania and Klas. The “ordered” recital tours throughout the former republics found her performing during luncheon breaks at steel mills and factories as well as in small hamlets and villages on an assortment of pianos from untuned, poorly conditioned uprights to the traditional nine-foot concert instruments in the major cities. During those restrictive years, Mûza and other artists were told where, when and what to perform. The positive side to this “restricted musical life” allowed Mûza to build over 30 different recital programs and remarkably learn, perform and polish 35 major concerti for piano and orchestra which included all the L.v. Beethoven, Mozart, Franz Liszt, Chopin concertos plus those of Felix Mendelssohn, Stenhammar, Montvila and Dvarionas.
As a loyal, proud and honored citizen of Lithuania during those occupied years, Mûza Rubackyté was denied much, but her artistry and talent was such that she was granted permission by the ruling Soviet musical authorities to enter the Budapest International Piano Competition (Franz Liszt/Franz Liszt) in 1981 and won the Grand Prix to wide acclaim. Unfortunately, due to her Lithuanian ethnicity, geography and the politics of the day, she was constantly denied visas or passports to perform in the West after all her winning accomplishments. But, with the arrival of ‘perestroika’ (1989) and finally, Lithuanian independence (1991), circumstances allowed her to relocate to one of the major music centers in the West, Paris, France. There, she entered the prestigious Paris International Piano Competition and won its First Prize overwhelmingly. Originally, known as “Triptyque”, the competition was formed by the three great French composers: Ravel, Dukas and Roussel. Eventually, the competition’s title evolved into “Les Grand Maitres Francais” (The Grand Masters of France) of which Rubackyte is now recognized as a “Grand Master” in that country.
As a jurist for various piano competitions over the years, Ms. Rubackyte, in 2007, served justifiably on two very prestigious juries: (1) the 8th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition Selection Committee that took her to three continents and (2) the 22nd International Epinal Piano Competition.
As a resident of Paris and major European artist, Mûza Rubackyté returns frequently to perform in Lithuania and appears regularly throughout France with the orchestras of Toulouse, Bretagne, Paris, Auvergne, Lorraine, Nancy, Marseille as well as those in Basel and Geneva, Switzerland. Heard consistently on Radio-France, Radio-Classique and Radio Notre Dame and proficient in five languages, this “Grand Master” is comfortable during her continental and Asian tours at such venues as Wigmore Hall (London), Beethoven House (Bonn), Salle Gaveau (Paris), Casals Hall (Tokyo) and other concert venues. Following her hugely successful debut at the world renowned Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, she made the covers of the international piano magazine “Piano World” in Holland and the July/August ’04 issue of Piano Magazine (FR).
In 1998, Lithuania honored Mûza Rubackyté and the late legendary Sir Yehudi Menuhin with the country’s highest cultural award the “Legion of Merit” for their extraordinary international musical accomplishments. An even greater honor was bestowed upon her in 2006 when the nation presented her with its “National Award” (USA Comparison: Kennedy Center Honors) and named her the country’s Muse.
The 2001-2002, 2005-2007 concert seasons found her returning to South America (Chile) for a third and fourth time performing the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 and, as well, later with the Singapore Symphony. In late 2007, brought another first, debuting with the Teatro Colon Orchestra in Buenos Aires performing both F. Liszt’s No. 1 & No. 2 Piano Concertos on the same program. In February 2008, she made another debut, this time with Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand performing the Chopin. Finishing those orchestral performances, she traveled to Bermuda for a recital at the Bermuda Music Festival where The Bermuda Press headlined her review as “Passion, fire and thunder from a musical magician”.
Mûza Rubackyté made her American orchestral debut(s) in 2001 with the Nashville (TN), North Carolina (Raleigh) and Canton (OH) Symphonies under the batons of two prominent American maestri, the late Kenneth Schermerhorn (Nashville) and Gerhardt Zimmermann (North Carolina and Canton). The following year 2002, she returned to the USA to appear with the Virginia Symphony, Uriel Segal conducting, and in 2003 and 2006, the Austin (Texas) Symphony (Peter Bay). She continued her visit to the States with a major radio recital on Chicago’s prominent classical station WFMT. In 2005, she made two major festivals debuts, the Wolf Trap Festival (Washington, DC) with the National Symphony Orchestra at the invitation of Maestro Leonard Slatkin performing F. Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Britt Festival in Oregon at Maestro Peter Bay’s request playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
Mûza Rubackyté’s artistry is heard presently on 13 praised and acclaimed recordings for Lyrinx (FR), Marco Polo, Melodia and Hungaroton in works of F. Liszt, Schubert, Johannes Brahms and Ciurlionis. Fanfare Magazine in reviewing her CD “Les Etudes de Liszt” wrote: “She is simply one of the greatest Liszt players alive”. Then, in a final year review of outstanding recordings, her third CD titled “Parcours Satanique” which completed a Liszt trilogy (Lyrinx-FR), Fanfare claimed her as “one of the world’s great pianists”. In 2002, she presented her multitude of fans with an “All-Scarlatti” album.
But, F. Liszt was to be honored once again, when on November 1, 2002 for Radio France, Mûza Rubackyté became the first of either gender to perform F. Liszt’s complete three volumes of his huge and demanding Annees de Pelerinage in three consecutive Herculean broain “one day”. This national broadcast and triumphant mammoth concert was so successful it resulted in a rebroadcast of the Annees followed by a recording released in February 2004 on the Lyrinx (FR) label receiving such accolades as "...a grand coup, du grand art". Here is a version to mark in white stone, one to remember” (Pianist-FR), “What a sumptuous pianist. What magisterial interpretation....she raises us to the heavens”. (Classica). “An artist of extraordinary sensitivity and technique bringing to the fore a superior performer” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch-USA), “Brilliant and poetic.... One finds her as subtle and refined, commanding as grand and multi-hued a sonority, as the best pianists who have ever committed them to disc”(Chicago Tribune-USA). Then from England came “Muza Rubackyte has mastered and internalized these scores to a transcendent level, giving the recorded competition a run for its money including the long regarded complete accounts of Lazar Berman, Aldo Ciccolini and others. Her Annees de Pelerinage rises to the top of this cycle’s short list. (BBC Music Magazine). She repeated this great work on April 5, 2007 in another “live” concert in Warsaw, Poland at the request of Radio Poland in a simulcast over the internet.
In 2006, Mûza Rubackyté took on another challenge as was the Liszt “Annees” and this time, in her debut for the Brilliant Classics label, recorded a double CD of the highly demanding Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues released world wide in March 2007. In November 2007, her 14th CD, a recital, “Muza Rubackyte “Live” in Marseille” was released on the Lyrinx (FR) label.
Mûza Rubackyté’s tremendous achievements through her drive, discipline, natural talent and affection for the keyboard overcame all the personal and political obstacles thrown in her way. Named by many critics as “The Magnificent Mûza”, she, undeniably, is and has earned that recognition.