1. About Us

Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

The chance to flex your critical muscles

Situated within the artistic and intellectual vibrancy of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism brings together leading music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers, combining the wisdom and insight of today's highly esteemed critics, the artistry and daring of acclaimed musicians, and the energy and promise of tomorrow's music journalists.

Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co., the biennial Rubin Institute features keynote addresses by the nation’s top critics (Writers Panel) and public concerts by acclaimed musicians from the solo, chamber, orchestral, and operatic stages. The performances are reviewed by a hand-selected group of student writers (Fellows) from renowned colleges and conservatories across the country, and the Writers Panel critiques their work in private workshops and public sessions. The Institute culminates with the awarding of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism to the Fellow who demonstrates exceptional promise in music criticism. Institute graduates have gone on to write for distinguished publications such as The New Yorker and The Boston Globe.

Writers Panel

Learn from the most respected journalists in the industry.

  • Alex Ross

    Alex Ross
    The New Yorker

  • Anne Midgette

    Anne Midgette
    The Washington Post

  • Heidi Waleson

    Heidi Waleson
    The Wall Street Journal

  • John Rockwell

    John Rockwell
    Formerly of
    The New York Times

  • Joshua Kosman

    Joshua Kosman
    San Francisco Chronicle

  • Tim Page

    Tim Page
    Formerly of
    The Washington Post

  • Stephen Rubin

    Stephen Rubin
    Henry Holt & Co.

Rubin Institute


Submit Your Application

The application period for the fourth biennial Rubin Institute for Music Criticism is now open.

Rubin Institute

Sample Schedule

What Your Day Looks Like

During the Rubin Institute, you'll take part in multiple sessions and events each day.