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San Francisco Conservatory of Music to Host Third Biennial Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) proudly announces the third biennial gathering of the groundbreaking Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, taking place October 20–24. The first program of its kind to focus on the art of classical music criticism, the Rubin Institute brings together leading music critics, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers for an intensive week of keynote addresses by critics, public performances, discussion panels, and critical reviews. The Institute will culminate with the awarding of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism to one of the university-level writers for demonstrating exceptional promise in music criticism, and the $1,000 Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prizefor the best review by an audience member of a concert performed during the Institute.

“We are honored to host the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism and delighted to partner with several of the finest educational and artistic institutions in the world,” says SFCM President David H. Stull. “As media has become a constant in our daily lives, a focus on quality, in both the work of artists and those charged with writing about it, remains of critical importance. I am deeply grateful to Steve Rubin for his generous support of this project.”

The Rubin Institute’s week-long series will feature a spectacular lineup of public performances by SFCM’s acclaimed performance partners: the International Contemporary Ensemble (October 20 at 8 p.m.), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (October 21 at 8 p.m.), San Francisco Symphony(October 22 at 8 p.m.), and San Francisco Opera (October 23 at 2 p.m.). A hand-selected group of student writers (Rubin Institute Fellows) will attend and write reviews of the concerts, and their work will be critiqued in private workshops by a panel of distinguished national music journalists (Writers Panel), providing the Fellows an extraordinary opportunity to receive instruction and feedback from some of the most important music writers of our time.

Tickets are required for the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra concerts. The International Contemporary Ensemble performance is free (no ticket required). For ticketing and program information, please visit the website below.

Writers Panel 
The 2016 Rubin Institute Writers Panel includes some of the most respected journalists in the music industry, hailing from major media outlets: Alex RossThe New Yorker magazine critic and author; Anne MidgetteThe Washington Post critic and author; Heidi WalesonThe Wall Street Journalcritic and author; John Rockwell, writer, critic, and former editor of The New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure section; Joshua KosmanSan Francisco Chronicle critic; Tim Page, author, professor, and former Washington Post critic; and Rubin Institute benefactor Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co. Members of the Writers Panel will present pre-concert lectures (tickets required) and a public panel discussion (free/no ticket required) over the course of the five-day symposium, offering the public the chance to hear firsthand from those at the forefront of classical music criticism.

“I am deeply grateful to the extraordinary group of critics who are all joining us for the third time,” says benefactor Stephen Rubin. “It is their wonderfully committed involvement that makes this program singular. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music has proven to be a consummate host and, as always, David Stull's vision has helped the Institute flourish in ways I never even imagined.”

Rubin Institute Fellows 
Rubin Institute Fellows are nominated students currently studying at some of the most illustrious universities and conservatories in the United States. The 2016 Rubin Institute Fellows are from the University of California, Berkeley—Jennifer Huang, Dennis Nguyen, and Juan Carlos Zepeda; The Juilliard School—Ross GriffeyChristopher Herbert, and Hélène Werner; Oberlin Conservatory of Music—Neil McCalmontClaire Coleman, and Christine Jay; San Francisco Conservatory of Music—Moya GothamAnna Heflin, and Melissa McCann; Stanford University—Tysen Dauer; and Yale School of Music—Matthew BridghamLucy CaplanLydia Consilvio, and Michael Gilbertson. Collectively, the Fellows are pursuing the gamut of degrees from their respective institutions—from bachelor’s to doctoral—and with majors ranging from baroque flute to molecular cell biology, jazz composition to comparative literature.

In addition to competing for a chance at the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, select Rubin Fellows will have a unique opportunity to publish future reviews in a major Bay Area music publication. In a partnership that began with the 2014 Rubin Institute, the San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV) will offer six-month paid internships to two 2016 Rubin graduates, including the winner of the Rubin Prize. Part of SFCV’s Emerging Writers Program, the interns will write one review a month—wherever the writers are based in the country—under the mentorship of some of SFCV’s most highly accomplished music critics.

$1,000 Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize 
The public is invited to vie for the chance to win the $1,000 Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize by submitting a 400-word review of the San Francisco Symphony concert on October 22. Members of the Writers Panel will choose the winning review, and Stephen Rubin will announce the winner at the Institute’s Closing Ceremony on October 24. Additional details, official rules, and a video tutorial on writing classical music criticism may be found on the Institute’s website below.

Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co., the inaugural edition of the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism was held at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2012 and featured performances by the Cleveland Orchestra, pianist Jeremy Denk, Apollo’s Fire, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). The Writers Panel included critics Alex Ross, Anne Midgette, Heidi Waleson, John Rockwell, Tim Page, and Stephen Rubin, and special guest panelists Greg Sandow, Denk, and Claire Chase (artistic director of ICE). 

For the full calendar of events, concert ticket and program information, and additional details on the Rubin Institute, the Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, and the Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize, please visit sfcm.edu/rubin-institute.

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, and the $1,000 Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize is made possible by the generosity of
Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co.


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Patrick Gullo
Associate Director of Content and Communications


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