Arthur B. Rubinstein, composer for films such as “War Games” who worked on more than 300 films and television programs, died April 23 of complications resulting from cancer. He was 80.
In the 1960s, Rubinstein composed incidental music for around 50 productions while serving as composer-in-residence for the American Conservatory Theater, the Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He continued on in the 1970s serving as a music director, both in Los Angeles and on Broadway, for shows such as “A Chorus Line,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Evita.” Rubinstein received an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for his work as music director on Gordon Davidson’s production of “A Little Night Music.”
After moving to Los Angeles, Rubinstein composed scores for films such as “WarGames” (1983) starring Matthew Broderick, and Albert Brooks’ “Lost in America” (1985). Rubinstein earned an Emmy Award for his original music on CBS series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King.” He also scored “Shooting War,” Stephen Spielberg’s documentary narrated by Tom Hanks about WWII newsreel cameramen for ABC Television.
Rubinstein was also a frequent collaborator with director John Badham, working on films including “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” (1981), “Blue Thunder” (1983), “Stakeout” (1987) featuring Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez, “The Hard Way” (1991), “Another Stakeout” (1993), and “Nick of Time” (1995) with Christopher Walken and Johnny Depp.
In 1994, Rubinstein founded Symphony in the Glen with his wife Barbara Ferris. They presented over 60 free classical concerts to over 80,000 families and children in Los Angeles across their 20-year run.
Rubinstein’s most recent compositions include “Observations,” which premiered in 2009 at the Griffith Observatory in a special concert in honor of the International Year of the Astronomer and the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s achievements.
“In classical music and jazz there is a constant, living swirl of wonder and discovery — both sensual and intellectual. As a composer and conductor, I’ve always tried, in some way, to be part of that swirl,” Rubinstein wrote on his website.
Rubinstein is survived by his wife, Barbara Ferris Rubinstein, and his daughter, Alexandra Nan Rubinstein.