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Rubin Institute Fellows

The fifth biennial Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism features eighteen aspiring music writers as its fellows. They hail from 16 distinct colleges, music schools and universities – including the City University of New York, Boston University, Columbia, Harvard, New England Conservatory, Princeton, Rice and Stanford – and reside in 12 states. Learn more about them below.

A public session will be held on June 17, 2022 at 2pm. You can find more event details here.

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Ann Raja Somu

Ann Raja Somu earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Hunter College in the City University of New York. Ann enjoys being at the lab bench and her post-degree research has incidentally centered around the chemistry of proteins. She briefly worked on the measurement of neurodegenerative biomarkers for Alzhemier’s disease at the Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a stint with histones and nucleosomes at the University of California in San Francisco. She currently works for the Clinical & Translational Science Institute at UCSF, where she collaborates with interdisciplinary clinical and research teams across all UCSF campuses and the San Francisco General Hospital to support blood and biofluid specimen collection, processing, and storage for a variety of current inpatient studies and trials. Ann listens to an unacceptable amount of opera and has many fond memories of performing experiments to Rossini’s L’Assedio di Corintoand Massenet’s Thais. If she is not at the lab, you can probably find Ann either at Davies Symphony Hall or at the War Memorial Opera House downtown, complaining about Californian public transport and missing the Lincoln Center with all her heart.

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Chrysanthe Tan

Chrysanthe Tan (they/them) is an experimental composer, violinist, and writer of Cambodian and Greek heritage. Named by Arts Boston as 1 of 10 Contemporary LGBTQ Composers You Should Know in 2018, their artistic work ranges from chamber music to electro-pop to reading their diary into a microphone and building soundscapes for their secrets.

As a violinist, Chrysanthe has performed and recorded with artists like Ariana Grande, Paul Anka, and Halsey, and played on TV shows like Glee and the American Music Awards. In 2015, Chrysanthe took a leave of absence from school to tour the world as Ariana Grande's violinist and release their first solo album Stories.

Chrysanthe’s writing has appeared in publications them., New Music USA’s NewMusicBox, Classical KUSC and KDFC, and they’re a current contributing writer at I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. In 2019, Chrysanthe was nominated for a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for their radio piece on “The Genius of Disneyland Sound Design,” while their piece “Classical Music Through an Autistic Lens” received wide coverage on KUSC. Nowadays, Chrysanthe hosts a podcast called Star Wars Music Minute, which celebrates the music and sound of Star Wars five cinematic minutes at a time. Journalism aside, Chrysanthe enjoys making tiny handmade chapbooks, learning about dinosaurs, and contemplating artificial intelligence.

Dalanie Harris

Dalanie Harris

Dalanie Harris is a writer and podcaster from Los Angeles, CA. Her work spans the gamut of music and cultural criticism to creative nonfiction. A fierce advocate for equity and cultural inclusivity in the music industry, her extensive work advocating for Black music and musicians has informed her editorial voice. In her time as a student at the Eastman School of Music, Harris further developed her research interests, which focus on the intersection of music, history, and culture in Black America. In 2021, she contributed to the UK-based organization Black Lives in Music’s groundbreaking report on the inequities faced by Black musicians in the UK. Additionally, Harris’ bylines have appeared in I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, The Ensemble News, Represent Classical, and more.

In 2018 Harris co-founded Classically Black Podcast, which brings listeners into the world of classical music through the eyes of Black musicians while juxtaposing classical music with Black popular culture. Since its launch, Classically Black Podcast has garnered a global audience from over 60 countries. As a public speaker, Harris has served as a panelist, presenter, and keynote speaker at conferences promoting equity and inclusion for Black musicians across the country, such as SphinxConnect, the El Sistema USA Symposium, and the YOLA National Symposium.

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Donna Lee Davidson

Born to music educators in Atlanta, GA, Donna Lee Davidson began playing classical percussion and piano at 9-years-old. Her work spans orchestral percussion, jazz vibraphone, teaching music in non-profit organizations, and writing about diversity and inclusion in classical music and her experiences performing in a white, male-dominated field.

A graduate of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program, Donna was the winner of the Interlochen Center for the Arts international concerto competition before making her solo debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano at the age of 16. Her performing career includes numerous performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall. She has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Wind Symphony, the National Black Arts Festival, Opera Noire, and the Philadelphia Wind Symphony.

Donna began teaching music in New York Public Schools as an undergraduate at the Manhattan School of Music with their Arts-In-Education Outreach Program. She has given workshops and clinics for Atlanta Public Schools, the El Sistema nonprofits AMPlify and Play On, Philly, and Settlement Music School in Philadelphia.

Donna began her studies with Thomas Sherwood (The Cleveland Orchestra) and Bill Wilder (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). While attending the Manhattan School of Music, she studied with Chris Lamb (New York Philharmonic) and Duncan Patton (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). Donna then received a BA in music at Spelman College, an HBCU in Atlanta, GA, where she studied jazz theory under saxophonist Joseph Jennings before touring the east coast on jazz vibraphone for five years.

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Emery Kerekes

Emery Kerekes is a writer, performer, and arts administrator based in New York City. He is a founding editor for Which Sinfonia and a contributor to Opera News. He is also the founder and publisher of Classical Music Geek, which he launched by reviewing 50 concerts over the summer of 2019.

Kerekes graduated from Yale University in 2021 with a B.A. in Music. He was awarded the Bach Society Prize for his contributions to campus musical life, and his capstone recital, ONE: Works for Unaccompanied Voice, received special commendation from the Music Department. While at Yale, Kerekes served as Artistic Director for the Opera Theatre of Yale College, the Yale Undergraduate Chamber Orchestra, and the Berkeley-Saybrook Chamber Players. He also served as a student conductor for the Yale Glee Club, sat on the programming committee of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and performed regularly with graduate and professional ensembles around New Haven.

As an associate at Sounding Point, a West Coast media and PR company, Kerekes works on social media and marketing campaigns for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Industry, Opera Parallèle, and The Greenhouse Foundation, among others. He spends his free time taking friends to their first operas, experimenting with his new sous-vide machine, and navigating the stairways of New York City’s subway stations with his overflowing grocery cart.

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Esteban Meneses

Esteban Meneses is a freelance music journalist based in Orlando. He is ardently interested in contemporary music, inclusivity in the performing arts (and in arts journalism), and in making classical music appealing to the growing Hispanic population. In December 2020, he was one of 14 new contributing writers for I Care If You Listen, whose call for applications resulted in nearly 200 submissions from across the United States and abroad.

Esteban, who is fully bilingual (Spanish), moved to the U.S. in 2004 from his native Ecuador and soon became immersed in Central Florida’s classical, opera, jazz, and ballet offerings. He started writing concert reviews, season previews, and visiting artist profiles in 2010, initially for Among the dozens of mini-profiles he has covered for Orlando Arts magazine, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, and Wayne Shorter — with original interviews — stand out.

A 2018 graduate of Rollins College’s Master of Liberal Studies program (Winter Park, FL), Esteban is also an enthusiast of literature and the humanities. At Rollins, he was a copy editor for The Sandspur and reviewed concerts by the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Soon after becoming a member of the Music Critics Association of North America in 2015, he began contributing to Classical Voice, its member-exclusive online journal. Interviews with 1979 Pulitzer Prize- winning composer Joseph Schwantner, conductor Andrey Boreyko, and John Kieser (executive vice president of New World Symphony) are highlights. He has also written for Orlando Weekly and Indianapolis’ NUVO.

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Giancarlo Latta

Fiercely committed to the music of our time, violinist and composer Giancarlo Latta is interested in the intersection and convergence of music old and new, a passion he explores principally as a member of the acclaimed New York City-based Argus Quartet. He has worked with dozens of composers both young and established, including the late Mario Davidovsky, George Lewis, Christopher Theofanidis, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and has been heard in venues as diverse as Lincoln Center, the Rothko Chapel (Houston), Royal Albert Hall (London) as part of the BBC Proms, and Neubad (Lucerne, Switzerland), a multipurpose performance space in a former public swimming pool. Past highlights include duo performances with flutist Claire Chase of a new work by Erik Ulman commissioned by DACAMERA, the U.S. premiere of Liza Lim’s opera Tree of Codes at the Spoleto Festival USA, and residencies at Yellow Barn and Avaloch Farm. With pianist-composer Robert Fleitz, Giancarlo is a member of the duo escapeVelocity, which focuses on violin and piano music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including commissioned works, and is the recipient of an Ensemble Forward Grant from Chamber Music America. As a composer, his music has been heard at the Aspen Music Festival, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and on Houston Public Media. As a writer, he has contributed to Strings, Listen, and the Rice University Thresher. Giancarlo studied with Paul Kantor at Rice.


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Helen Wu

Yichun (Helen) Wu, born in Shanghai in 1998, is pursuing her Master’s Degree in chamber music (piano) at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the instruction of Yoshikazu Nagai. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Bard Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Bard College. She was awarded The William Weaver Prize in Music and Languages for her written project “Eternity in Art: The Embodiment and Transcendence of Time in Proust and Messiaen” in May 2021.

As a dedicated chamber musician, Helen has given chamber recitals in New York city, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Maine. Her group has worked closely with Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Wiley, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, the Neave Trio, members from the Telegraph Quartet, cellist Raman Ramakrishnan from the Horszowski Trio, and violinist Weigang Li from the Shanghai Quartet. She was also an active participant in Bowdoin International Music Festival and Snow Pond Music Festival where she committed to intensive training in chamber music.

Over the years, Helen has worked closely with the former president of Bard Conservatory, Robert Martin, translating administrative documents for the institute. Her recent activities include her translation of Mr. Martin’s new book on music education, Synergy: Music and the Liberal Arts, which was released in November, 2021.

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Jacob Jahiel

Jacob Jahiel is a second-year M.A. candidate in musicology with an outside field in historical performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His primary research interests center around the music of early modern Europe, particularly French baroque dance, as well as hip-hop in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2019, Jahiel received a B.A. from Indiana University’s Individualized Major Program, where he designed an undergraduate degree in musicology. While at IU, Jahiel studied violin with Jorja Fleezanis, baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie, and viola da gamba with Joanna Blendulf. He currently serves as a graduate assistant in the Borns Jewish Studies Program and has previously been an undergraduate research fellow with the Indiana University Platform in Global Popular Music. He has contributed numerous program notes to performances by the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

As a performer, Jahiel has appeared with ensembles such as the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Summer Arts Academy, Indiana University Baroque Orchestra, as well as IU’s mixed vocal and instrumental early music ensemble, Concentus. In 2015, as the winner of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition, he performed as a soloist with the WSO.

When not wandering the music library or scraping away at various bowed string instruments, Jahiel can be found hiking, fly-fishing, and skiing near his childhood home in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming, where cows outnumber people 3:1.

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Julia Klauss

Julia Klauss, a native of Newport, North Carolina, is a recent graduate of Boston University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in music. She studied bassoon with Margaret Phillips and was a member of the Boston University Wind Ensemble, Boston University Symphony Orchestra, and Boston University Chamber Orchestra. Julia is moving to Chicago this fall to pursue a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, where she plans to specialize in social and economic policy while continuing music as a hobby.

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Lev Mamuya

Lev Mamuya is a cellist, writer, and arts administrator whose work focuses the relationship between art and its consumers. Having received a BA in History and Literature from Harvard in 2018, he completed his MM in cello performance at New England Conservatory in 2019, studying with Paul Katz and Yeesun Kim. Previous teachers include Michael Reynolds, Laura Blustein, Debbie Thompson, and Ronald Leonard.

An experienced soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, Mamuya has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, the South Bend Symphony, the Ann Arbor Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. He is a member of the Semiosis and Boston Public Quartets—other recent engagements have included appearances with Boston-based ensembles Castle of Our Skins and A Far Cry.

Outside of his performing efforts, Mamuya wears many hats. He is a composer, whose works have been performed around the Northeast. He is a writer of both critical non-fiction whose work has appeared in The Drift and other outlets. He is a poet who has studied with Pulitzer prize-winning poet Jorie Graham and at the Skidmore Summer Writers Institute. Finally, he is a dedicated arts administrator—having served as the publisher of The Harvard Advocate during his undergraduate years, he now works in the Admissions and Scholarship department at From the Top.

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Liam Jankelovics

Liam Jankelovics was born in Paris, France and started studying the double bass at the age of 10 while living in Singapore. Upon moving to Chicago in 2014, he began studying with Robert Kassinger of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There he was co-principal of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for three years. In 2019, he began his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Michigan with Maximillian Dimoff, principal bass of the Cleveland Orchestra. While at Michigan, he was the only music major who was nominated for the Matt Kelley Prize for Excellence in Writing, for his essay on the history and future of opera. He was also a recipient of the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize for academic achievement. In the fall of 2021, he began studying with renowned double bass virtuoso Joel Quarrington at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. His other important mentors include François Rabbath and Thierry Barbé; and he has performed in master classes taught by Robert DeMaine, Catalin Rotaru, Alexander Hanna, Rick Stotijn, and Christine Hoock. His writing has been published on When he is not playing, listening to, or writing about music, he likes to cook for his friends and family.

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Matthew Honegger

Matthew Honegger is a PhD candidate in musicology at Princeton University. His dissertation is about Soviet-U.S. musical exchange, as seen from the perspective of Soviet cultural diplomacy, for which he spent many hours reading many pages of memos and other exciting documents gathered from Russian archives. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Title VIII Program, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. In 2014, he graduated magna cum laude with a BA in musicology and history from Northwestern University, where he wrote an award-winning senior thesis on the Soviet record label Melodiya.

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Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen is a senior at Columbia University, where he studies musicology and composition. Composition teachers include Georg Friedrich Haas and George Lewis, and he has worked with Elaine Sisman, Walter Frisch, and Julia Doe as musicological mentors. At Columbia, Simon served as the president of Columbia New Music, a group which promotes the discussion and performance of contemporary music. He is the music director of the New Opera Workshop, Columbia’s only club dedicated to opera performance. Together with the group’s producer and artistic director, he organized a project to bring a commission a contemporary operatic work, an initiative he hopes to continue in the coming years. From 2018-19, Simon served as head of the Classical department at WKCR-FM, the campus radio station. He has hosted interviews with leading musicians including Hilary Hahn, Steven Isserlis, and Hélène Grimaud, and continues to produce radio programs for the station.

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Stephanie Manning

Stephanie Manning (she/her/hers) found her way into the world of music journalism mostly by chance, but she’s been thrilled to rediscover her long-dormant passion for writing. Growing up in McLean, Virginia, she played a variety of instruments before starting the bassoon — and just never stopped playing. Now in her third year at Oberlin Conservatory, Stephanie is working towards a bachelor’s degree in bassoon performance with dual concentrations in arts administration and journalism. After serving as the 2021 Nicholas Jones Young Writer Fellow with, she became a correspondent for the publication, writing reviews and previews of concerts in Northeast Ohio and conducting interviews with local and guest musicians. Her September 2021 interview with conductor Richard Kaufman was featured in The Cleveland Orchestra’s weekly email newsletter. An avid performer of works by women and other marginalized groups, Stephanie has been involved with the Oberlin Phlox Orchestra, a project developed by the Students for Gender Inclusivity in Music. When not in the practice room or writing at her computer, you can find her either working on her latest cross-stitch project or listening to anything from Kacey Musgraves to Korean hip-hop.

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Zach Weiner

Zach Weiner believes in the virtues of a musical education to make the world a better place. His personal mission is to help millennials connect with classical music in order to ensure that it is passed on to future generations.

A product of a diverse background, Zach is a Piano Diploma student of Jeremy Denk and Jon Nakamatsu at the San Francisco Conservatory. Previously, he received a B.S. from Stanford University in Symbolic Systems, an interdisciplinary combination of Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics, and Computer Science. Upon graduating with distinction in 2012, he joined the founding team of Timeful, a behavioral science startup which was acquired by Google in 2015. As a Senior Software Engineer at Google, he channeled his passion for education into the acclaimed app “Socratic” until leaving in 2019 to pursue his musical studies full time.

As a pianist, Zach has performed in Weill Hall in New York, the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna, and with orchestras including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and the California Concerto Festival Orchestra. His recent teachers have included John McCarthy, Frederic Chiu, and Thomas Schultz. He was a fourteen-year student of the late Natalie Ryshna Maynard, herself a long-time disciple of the great pianist, teacher and arts advocate, Olga Samaroff. Natalie, a true champion of arts education, serves as a constant inspiration and frequent subject of Zach’s writing.

Zach teaches piano and computer science privately. He is also an aspiring conductor, avid skier, and husky lover.

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Zofia Gornicz

Zofia Górnicz is a junior at Boston University, majoring in Music Theory and

Composition. As a performer, she has played in the BU campus orchestra on cello, as well as in recitals on solo piano or as piano accompaniment for vocalists. Outside of a school setting, she enjoys playing synthesizer with her band The Chairs, Please. In her composition studies, she is focused on the use of folk material and incorporates this technique in her own work. She is also interested in extended techniques and unpitched sounds, and is slowly building up a collection of instruments for experimentation. Born in New York to Polish immigrants, she grew up speaking both Polish and English and her heritage has always been an important influence in her life. Her compositions often include a connection to this heritage, whether it is capturing her feelings for Poland in music or directly incorporating Polish folk tunes. She has received the BU Composition Department’s Wainwright Prize for a setting of a Polish folk song and is currently working on an opera based on Slavic folklore and pagan traditions. She hopes to continue her exploration of cultural influences in music through her writing.