Rubin Institute
  1. Rubin Institute

Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

2020 and 2021 Institutes Postponed

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism is committed to the health and safety of its community of fellows, staff, faculty, and performance partners. As we await further guidance about the reopening of performing arts venues, the conferences originally planned for fall 2020 and fall 2021 are postponed to a date to be determined. An announcement will be made once new dates have been confirmed, along with a new application deadline. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to welcoming to SFCM a new group of highly talented young writers.

The chance to flex your critical muscles

Situated within the artistic and intellectual vibrancy of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism brings together leading music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers, combining the wisdom and insight of today's highly esteemed critics, the artistry of acclaimed musicians, and the energy and promise of tomorrow's music journalists.

Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, renowned book-publishing executive, the biennial Rubin Institute features keynote addresses by the nation’s top critics (Writers Panel) and public concerts at San francisco's acclaimed performing arts institutions. The performances are reviewed by a hand-selected group of student writers (Fellows) from renowned colleges and conservatories across the country, and the Writers Panel critiques their work in private workshops and public sessions. 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. Institute graduates have gone on to write for distinguished publications such as The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, among others.

Continuing to Advance Critical Journalism

In 2016, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism began teaming with the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation to provide financial support for news outlets across the country in order to advance and maintain quality discourse on music. In the program, news organizations retain complete editorial control over assignments and content, as well as provide their own additional funding, thus creating a joint financially sustainable model for thoughtful and critical journalism across the profession. Current partnering organizations include The Boston Globe, Star Tribune (Minnesota), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Seattle Times, Toronto Star, and The Dallas Morning News, among others.

Changes due to Covid-19

In response to the cancellation of live concerts around the country, the requirement for a review of a live concert has been changed to a classical music review of a live-streamed concert, a pre-recorded concert, or a portion or all of a pre-recorded album, maximum 500 words. All other dates and deadlines are still as listed.

Rubin Institute, Meet the Panel
Rubin Institute

Applications Open

Fifth Biennial Institute Announced

Featuring performances at San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, SFJAZZ, and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, plus a $10,000 grand prize. Free to apply, and all expenses covered for participants (airfare, housing, concert tickets, and meals).

Rubin Institute

Schedule and Tickets - Coming Soon

A Week of Music and Criticism

Pre-concert talks, panel sessions, and multiple performances from world-renowned ensembles fill out a packed week. 2020 Schedule will be announced this summer.