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Rubin Institute for Music Criticism Names 18 Fellows to the Class of 2022

This June’s Institute includes a public panel led by "Washington Post" Arts Editor Janice Page.

May 5, 2022 by Mark Taylor

By Mark Taylor

Eighteen aspiring music writers were chosen as fellows for the fifth biennial Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism to be held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) June 16-20, 2022. 

“We are thrilled to welcome this outstanding class of gifted and emerging critics to SFCM,” said Rubin Institute Executive Director Jessica Downs. “Throughout the application process they demonstrated an exceptional level of intellectual vitality and a creative approach to criticism that will bring to the conference a depth of talent that is truly remarkable.”

This year’s fellows are:

  • Simon Cohen
  • Giancarlo Latta
  • Donna Lee Thompson
  • Lev Mamuya
  • Zofia Górnicz
  • Stephanie Manning
  • Dalanie Harris
  • Esteban Meneses
  • Matt Honegger
  • Ann Raja Somu
  • Jacob Jahiel
  • Liam Jankelovics
  • Chrysanthe Tan
  • Emery Kerekes
  • Zach Weiner 
  • Julia Klauss
  • Helen Wu

The fellows represent the most racially and ethnically diverse group in the program's history. They studied at 16 distinct colleges, music schools and universities – including the City University of New York, Boston University, Columbia, Harvard, New England Conservatory, Princeton, Rice, Spelman, Stanford, Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal – and reside in 12 states. Their areas of study range; this year’s cohort majored in biochemistry, English, and musicology, among other disciplines. Two fellows graduated from SFCM and one, Helen Wu, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in chamber music and piano at the Conservatory.

“We have never had such a thrilling lineup of fellows and critics,” said Stephen Rubin, renowned book-publishing executive and SFCM trustee who founded the Institute in 2011.

The Rubin Institute’s distinguished faculty, or Writers Panel, includes some of the foremost critics, editors and music journalists working today. For the first time, the New York Times will be represented by classical music critic, Zachary Woolfe. Earlier this year, Woolfe connected with SFCM’s newsroom about the role of music criticism in our culture.

Washington Post Arts Editor Janice Page will also join the faculty. She will speak on relationships between editors and reporters in newsrooms, particularly as they relate to cultural coverage, as part of a public panel from 2:00-4:00pm PT on Friday, June 17 in Sol Joseph Recital Hall at SFCM’s Ann Getty Center located at 50 Oak Street.

“Forging connections between the Institute’s promising writers and their distinguished mentors may be a catalyst for launching their careers and establishing their vital roles in shaping and advancing the future of music journalism,” Downs said. 

During the event, performances by the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, SFJazz and an additional partner will be reviewed by fellows and critiqued over week-long workshops. 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.  

“As always, the music organizations in San Francisco have been incredibly welcoming to our program. They are genuine partners,” said Rubin. “The sense of community at the Institute is truly motivational. I believe we are poised this year to do our most successful work in transforming these hugely talented young writers into critics-to-be.”

This is the first time the Institute will be held in the springtime. It is also the first time it will be hosted at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s (SFCM) recently-inaugurated Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts, a new home for creativity in San Francisco’s Civic Center Arts District. The Institute also welcomes for the first time Natasha Gauthier of Opera Canada and Steve Smith the culture and arts editor of WNYC.

Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, renowned book-publishing executive and SFCM trustee, the Rubin Institute is the only of its kind and features the nation’s top critics and concerts at acclaimed performing arts institutions.

More information, including biographical information about this year’s fellows, can be found at The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism.