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Rubin Institute Writers Panel

  • Gary Giddins

    The Village Voice

    Gary Giddins wrote the "Weather Bird" jazz column in the Village Voice from 1973 through 2003, and served as artistic director of the American Jazz Orchestra, 1986-92. He was the Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he also taught, from 2011 to 2016. His essays on music and film have appeared in diverse publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, DGA Quarterly, The New Yorker, Esquire, Vintage, Jazz Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Sun. He has received a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Jazz Journalists Association Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Peabody, a Grammy, two Ralph J. Gleason Music Book awards, and six ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for Excellence in Music Criticism. He wrote and directed three documentary films and has appeared in many others, notably Ken Burns’s Jazz. His books are Riding on a Blue Note, Rhythm-a-ning, Faces in the Crowd, Satchmo, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, Visions of Jazz, Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams, Weather Bird, Natural Selection, Jazz (with Scott DeVeaux) and Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema. The textbook edition of Jazz is used at universities across the country. Giddins is now at work on a short life of George Gershwin. The long-awaited second volume of his biography of Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star, the War Years 1940-1946, will be published by Little, Brown in November 2018. He lives in New York with his wife Deborah Halper.

  • Joshua Kosman

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Joshua Kosman has covered classical music for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1988, reviewing and reporting on the wealth of orchestral, operatic, chamber, and contemporary music throughout the Bay Area. He holds degrees in music from Yale and UC Berkeley, and is a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, 2nd Edition, and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera. He is the former vice president of the Music Critics Association of North America and a past winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music criticism, and his articles have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.


    In his spare time, he is the co-constructor of a weekly cryptic crossword puzzle in The Nation magazine, and has repeatedly placed among the top 20 contestants at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

  • Anne Midgette

    The Washington Post

    Anne Midgette is the classical music critic of the Washington Post. A Yale graduate, she was for seven years a regular contributor of classical music and theater reviews to the New York Times. She has also written about music, the visual arts, dance, theater, and film for the Wall Street Journal, Opera News, Los Angeles Times, Town & Country, and many other publications, reviewing and interviewing everyone from Spike Lee to Twyla Tharp, Marina Abramovic to Plácido Domingo.


    At the Post, she oversees every aspect of classical music coverage, offsets her music writing with occasional visual art reviews, and posts online at the Classical Beat. She is co-author of The King and I (Doubleday, 2004), a candid and controversial book written with Luciano Pavarotti’s former manager, Herbert Breslin, about his 36 years working with the temperamental tenor; and of My Nine Lives (Doubleday, 2010), the memoir of the pianist Leon Fleisher, who reinvented himself after losing the use of two fingers on his right hand, only to regain their use some 30 years later. She is currently working on a historical novel about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.

  • Tim Page

    Formerly of The Washington Post

    Tim Page is a professor in both the Annenberg School of Journalism and the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Page won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1997 for his writings about music in the Washington Post, where he was chief classical music critic from 1995 to 2008. Prior to coming to the Post, he served as the chief music critic for Newsday and as a music and cultural writer for the New York Times. During his years in New York, he was the host of an afternoon program on WNYC- FM that broadcast interviews with hundreds of composers and musicians, including Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Dizzy Gillespie, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, and Steve Reich. He is currently a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.   


    Page recently served as special contributor to Past / Forward, The LA Phil at 100 (Los Angeles Philharmonic, 2018), in which he conducted new interviews with the LA Philharmonic’s living Music Directors. Other books include The Glenn Gould Reader (Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), William Kapell: A Documentary Life History of the American Pianist (IPAM, 1992), Music From The Road: Views and Reviews 1978 - 1992 (Oxford University Press, 1992), Dawn Powell: A Biography (1998), The Unknown Sigrid Undset (Steerforth, 2001), Tim Page on Music (Amadeus Press, 2002), What’s God Got To Do With It?: Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk and the Separation of Church and State (Steerforth Press, 2005), and Carnegie Hall Treasures (HarperCollins, 2011). Parallel Play (Doubleday, 2009) is a memoir of his childhood.

  • John Rockwell

    Formerly of The New York Times

    John Rockwell is a writer and an arts critic. He was educated at Phillips Academy Andover, Harvard College, the University of Munich, and the University California at Berkeley (M.A. and Ph.D. in German cultural history). From 1969 to 1972 he worked as a music and dance critic at the Oakland Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
    Thereafter a longtime employee of the New York Times, he served as classical music critic, reporter, and editor; chief rock critic; European cultural correspondent; editor of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section; arts columnist; and chief dance critic. He also founded and directed the Lincoln Center Festival for its first four years.


    Retired from the Times since 2007, he has been a prolific freelancer throughout his career, and is now a New York correspondent for Opera magazine and the Financial Times in London. Rockwell has published books on American musical composition, Frank Sinatra, and Lars von Trier, as well as a journalistic compilation. The editor of a recent New York Times coffee-table book on the 1960s, he is contemplating a wide-ranging study of The Magic Flute. He has served on the boards of the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, the National Arts Journalism Program, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

  • Alex Ross

    The New Yorker

    Alex Ross has been the music critic at the New Yorker since 1996. From 1992 to 1996, he worked as a music critic for the New York Times. His first book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007), won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. His second book, the essay collection Listen to This (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010), won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music writing. He is completing a book entitled Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music, a study of Wagner’s influence on literature and the arts. Ross was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008. He has also received the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music in Munich, an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ross writes a blog with the same title of his award-winning book, The Rest is Noise.

  • Stephen Rubin

    Henry Holt & Co.

    Rubin Institute benefactor Stephen Rubin is the President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co.  During his tenure at Holt, which he joined in 2009, the company’s many notable books have included the 2.5 million runaway bestseller Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, the historic Killing series by Bill O’Reilly with more than 17 million copies in print, the novels of two-time Booker Award winner Hilary Mantel, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Sixth Extinction, the memoirs and diaries of Andy Cohen, and The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown.


    Rubin began his almost three-decade-long career in book publishing as executive editor at Bantam Books in 1984, rising to publisher of adult trade at Bantam. During his distinguished career, he has held many posts, most notably with various iterations of Doubleday, starting in 1990, with a three-year stint in London as chairman and CEO of Bantam Doubleday Dell, and continuing through 2009.


    Under his leadership, Doubleday and its affiliated companies published a highly regarded mix of major fiction and nonfiction. Among them are novels by writers John Grisham, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Ian McEwan, and Christopher Reich, and contemporary general interest works by Bill Moyers, Bill Bryson, Bill O’Reilly, Suze Orman, Mitch Albom, and Tina Brown.
    Prior to joining the book publishing industry, Rubin was a newspaper and magazine journalist and worked as a freelancer for the New York Times from 1970 until the early 1980s. He wrote numerous profiles of many prominent classical musicians, including Luciano Pavarotti, Georg Solti, James Levine, Renata Scotto, Arthur Fiedler, Pierre Boulez, Isaac Stern, Rafael Kubelik, Birgit Nilsson, and Plácido Domingo, as well as manager Ronald Wilford and impresario Sol Hurok. He also served as an editor at United Press International news agency and Vanity Fair, and is the author of The New Met in Profile.

  • Heidi Waleson

    The Wall Street Journal

    Heidi Waleson is a New York City-based opera critic for the Wall Street Journal, covering opera performances and news around the U.S. She is the author of the recently published “Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America” (Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2018). She is also a regular contributor to Symphony Magazine, Opera News, Opera Now (UK), Musical America Worldwide, Early Music Magazine, and other national and international publications. Her hundreds of published pieces include criticism, commentary, personality profiles, book reviews, and articles on current issues in classical music, including such topics as how American orchestras are rethinking their missions and the role cultural institutions and working musicians in music education. Special interests include contemporary opera and historical performance.


    Waleson has appeared as a lecturer and panelist for the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department. She has also written extensively about the public policy of philanthropy and is the author of Turning Passion Into Action: Giving While Living (2010) for the Atlantic Philanthropies and A Trust Fulfilled: Four Decades of Grantmaking by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (2009). She is a noted authority on the issues of foundation impact and lifespan, particularly alternatives to perpetual terms.


    Waleson graduated from Yale College and served as a teacher and teacher-trainer with the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic.