1. About Us

Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

The chance to flex your critical muscles

The biennial Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism brings together distinguished music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers to advance the craft of criticism. Student participants from the nation's top colleges and conservatories attend multiple performances by the Bay Area’s premier ensembles, submitting critical reviews after each concert that are then discussed and workshopped. The Institute includes panel discussions that are open to the public and events with featured speakers from some of the country’s most highly regarded publications.

Participating writers and music journalists have included Alex Ross, The New Yorker magazine critic and author, Anne Midgette, The Washington Post critic and author, Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal critic and author, John Rockwell, writer, critic, and former editor of The New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure section, Joshua Kosman, San 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.

Writers Panel

Learn from the most respected journalists in the industry.

  • Alex Ross

    Alex Ross

  • Anne Midget

    Anne Midgette

  • Heidi Waleson

    Heidi Waleson

  • John Rockwell

    John Rockwell

  • Joshua Kosman

    Joshua Kosman

  • Tim Page

    Tim Page

  • Stephen Rubin

    Stephen Rubin

Lucy Caplan, recipient of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism


Two Cash Awards

Vie for a chance to win the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism or the $1,000 Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize.

By the numbers

The 2016 Rubin Institute


National Journalists


Student Fellows


Schools Represented


Total Prize Money

A New Model

Pilot Program with The Boston Globe

SFCM, the Rubin Institute, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation have joined together to provide funding to support a 10-month position at The Boston Globe for Zoë Madonna, winner of the 2014 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism.