Distinguished National Journalists and Writers Anne Midgette, John Rockwell, Alex Ross, Tim Page, Anthony Tommasini, and Heidi Waleson in San Francisco Beginning November 5, 2014 to Participate in the 2014 Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

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Distinguished National Journalists and Writers

Anne Midgette, John Rockwell, Alex Ross, Tim Page,  

Anthony Tommasini, and Heidi Waleson

 in San Francisco

Beginning November 5, 2014

to Participate in the   

2014 Rubin Institute for Music Criticism  

 

On Wednesday, November 5, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, a biennial week-long event dedicated to music and the art of music criticism, opens with a public keynote address by Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic of The New York Times, on the topic of critics and challenges in classical music. Over the next five days, young writers from renowned conservatories and schools and members of the public will participate in a series of public events in San Francisco and Berkeley that includes performances, lectures by critics, critical reviews and discussion panels.

 

Lectures and panel discussions on topics related to music criticism will be given by members of the Institute’s Writers Panel. Alex Ross, The New Yorker magazine music critic and author, will speak on the relationship between composers and critics; Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal critic and author, will speak on the subject of early music going mainstream; Anne Midgette, Washington Post critic and author, gives a lecture on the critical voice in opera using Tosca as an example, and John Rockwell, writer and arts critic, will talk about Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and the role of cultural nationalism in late 19th century Europe. Tim Page, professor of journalism and music at the University of Southern California, serves as moderator for three public panels: an introduction to classical music criticism, a masterclass in writing music criticism, and a discussion about creativity and criticism.
2014 Rubin Institute Public Lectures Overview

(Full-detailed Schedule available online at http://www.sfcm.edu/rubin-institute/schedule.)

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5

5PM Keynote Address –

TOPIC: What should and can critics do about the challenges within classical music?

Anthony Tommasini, Chief Classical Music Critic, The New York Times

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, SFCM

 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6

2 PM Public Panel – Introduction to Classical Music Criticism

Members of the Writers Panel

Moderator: Tim Page, Professor, University of Southern California

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, SFCM

7 PM Lecture –

TOPIC: The relationship between composers and critics  

Alex Ross, Music Critic, The New Yorker

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco

8 PM San Francisco Symphony, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco

 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7

7:15 PM Lecture –

TOPIC: Early Music Goes Mainstream

Heidi Waleson, Critic, The Wall Street Journal

Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

8 PM Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8

2 PM Public PanelMasterclass in Writing Music Criticism

Moderator: Tim Page, Professor, University of Southern California

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, SFCM

6:35 PM Lecture – TOPIC: Tosca’s black eyes: the critical voice in opera “Make her eyes black!”

Anne Midgette, Classical Music Critic, The Washington Post

War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

7:30 PM San Francisco Opera

War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9

11 AM Public PanelCreativity and Criticism

Moderator: Tim Page, Professor, University of Southern California

Hertz Hall, University of Cal. Berkeley

2 PM Lecture –

TOPIC: Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and the role of cultural nationalism in late 19th century Europe, and the comparable evolution of the Czech Philharmonic

John Rockwell, writer and arts critic

Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley

3 PM Cal Performances presents

Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonic Choir

Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10

10 AM Closing Remarks and Awards Ceremony

$10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism

$1,000 Everyone’s A Critic Audience Review Prize

Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, SFCM

 

NOTE: Admission to pre-concert lectures requires a ticket for the performance immediately following each lecture presentation. Public Panels, Keynote Address and Closing Ceremony are free and open to the public. Visit http://www.sfcm.edu/rubin-institute/schedule to purchase tickets from performance partners.)

 

About the Journalists and Writers

 

Anne Midgette is the classical music critic of The Washington Post. A Yale graduate, she was for seven years a regular contributor of classical music and theater reviews to The New York Times. She has also written about music, the visual arts, dance, theater and film for The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country, and many other publications, reviewing and interviewing everyone from Spike Lee to Twyla Tharp, Marina Abramovic to Plácido Domingo. At the Post, she oversees every aspect of classical music coverage, offsets her music writing with occasional visual art reviews, and maintains the blog The Classical Beat.

 

She is co-author of The King and I, a candid and controversial book written with Luciano Pavarotti’s former manager, Herbert Breslin, about his 36 years working with the temperamental tenor (Doubleday, 2004); and of My Nine Lives, the memoir of the pianist Leon Fleisher, who reinvented himself after losing the use of two fingers on his right hand, only to regain their use some 30 years later (Doubleday, 2010).

 

 

Tim Page is a professor in both the Annenberg School of Journalism and the Thornton School of Music at theUniversity of Southern California. Page won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1997 for his writings about music in The Washington Post, where he has held the position of chief classical music critic since 1995. Prior to coming to the Post, he served as the chief music critic for Newsday and as a music and cultural writer for The New York Times. During his years in New York, he was the host of an afternoon program on WNYC-FM that broadcast interviews with hundreds of composers and musicians, including Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Dizzy Gillespie, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk and Steve Reich. An interview with Glenn Gould, comparing the pianist’s two versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, was released as part of a three-CD set entitled A State of Wonder in 2002 that became a surprise best-seller.

 

His books include The Glenn Gould Reader (Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), Selected Letters of Virgil Thomson (Summit, 1988), William Kapell: A Documentary Life History of the American Pianist (IPAM, 1992), Music From The Road: Views and Reviews 1978 – 1992, an anthology of previously published work (Oxford University Press, 1992), Dawn Powell: A Biography (1998), The Unknown Sigrid Undset (Steerforth, 2001), Tim Page on Music (Amadeus Press, 2002), What’s God Got To Do With It?: Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk and the Separation of Church and State (Steerforth Press, 2005) and Parallel Play. Library of America has just issued a 1,300 page collection of the criticism of Virgil Thomson, which Page edited.

 

 

John Rockwell is a writer and an arts critic. He was educated at Phillips AcademyAndover, Harvard College, the University of Munich and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A. and Ph.D. in German cultural history). From 1969 to 1972 he worked as a music and dance critic at the Oakland Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

 

Thereafter a longtime employee of The New York Times, he served as classical music critic, reporter and editor; chief rock critic; European cultural correspondent; editor of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section; arts columnist; and chief dance critic. He also founded and directed the Lincoln Center Festival for its first four years.

 

Retired from the Times since 2007, he has been a prolific freelancer throughout his career, and is now a New Yorkcorrespondent for Opera magazine in London. Rockwell has published books on American musical composition, Frank Sinatra, and Lars von Trier, as well as a journalistic compilation. The editor of a recent New York Times coffee-table book on the 1960’s, he is contemplating a wide-ranging study of The Magic Flute. He has served on the boards of the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, the National Arts Journalism Program, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

 

 

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book is the essay collection Listen to This. He is now at work on Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music. Ross has received an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Belmont Prize in Germany, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is married to the filmmaker Jonathan Lisecki.

 

 

Anthony Tommasini is the chief classical music critic of The New York Times and the author of three books. Born in Brooklyn, he grew up in Long Island, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1970, and then earned a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Boston University.

 

He has taught music at Emerson College in Boston, and given non-fiction writing workshops at Wesleyan University and Brandeis University. His interest in the work of the composer and critic Virgil Thomson culminated with his book Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle, published in 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company. Robert Craft, in the New York Review of Books, deemed the biography “indispensable to anyone concerned with American cultural history of the period.”

 

Another book, released in November of 2004 and published by Times Books/Henry Holt, part of The New York Times Essential Library series, is Opera: a Critic’s Guide to the 100 Important Most Important Works and the Best Recordings.

 

As a pianist, he made two recordings on the Northeastern Records label of Thomson’s music, titled Portraits and Self-Portraits, and Mostly About Love: Songs and Vocal Works. Both were funded in part through grants Anthony Tommasini was awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Prior to joining the Times he covered classical music and theater for The Boston Globe. He lives in Manhattan with his partner, Dr. Benjamin McCommon, a psychiatrist.

 

 

Heidi Waleson is a New York City-based opera critic for the Wall Street Journal, covering opera performances and news around the US. She is also a regular contributor to Symphony Magazine, Opera News, Opera Now (U.K.), Musical America Worldwide, Early Music Magazine, and other national and international publications. Her hundreds of published pieces include criticism, commentary, personality profiles, book reviews, and articles on current issues in classical music, including such topics as how American orchestras are rethinking their missions and the role of cultural institutions and working musicians in music education. Special interests include contemporary opera and historical performance. She has appeared as a lecturer and panelist for the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department. Ms. Waleson has also written extensively about the public policy of philanthropy and is the author of Turning Passion Into Action: Giving While Living (2010) for The Atlantic Philanthropies and A Trust Fulfilled: Four Decades of Grantmaking by The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (2009). She is a noted authority on the issues of foundation impact and lifespan; particularly alternatives to perpetual terms. Ms. Waleson graduated from Yale College and served as a teacher and teacher-trainer with the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic.

 

 

About The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism:
Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher, Henry Holt & Co., and the first program of its kind focusing on music and music criticism, the Rubin Institute brings together before the public national music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers, combining the wisdom and insight of today’s highly esteemed critics, the artistry and daring of acclaimed musicians, and the energy and promise of tomorrow’s music journalists. Now hosted by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the biennial institute comprises a week-long series of public events including a keynote address, performances, lectures by critics, critical reviews, and discussion panels.

 

Featuring public concerts by acclaimed musicians from the opera, chamber, and orchestral stages, the performances are reviewed by a select group of student writers (Rubin Institute Fellows). Their work is critiqued in private workshops and public sessions by a panel of highly esteemed national music critics and journalists.

 

 

2014 Rubin Institute Writers Panel members: Anne Midgette, Washington Post critic and author; Tim Page, professor, journalism and music, University of Southern California; John Rockwell, writer and arts critic; Alex Ross, The New Yorker magazine critic and author; Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal critic and author; and Rubin Institute benefactor Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co., whose writing credits include having written features for The New York Times for over a decade. In addition, Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times chief classical music critic, will give the keynote address on November 5th at 5 p.m. at SFCM. Joshua Kosman the San Francisco Chronicle music critic, will be the Critic-in-Residence and chair of the Everyone’s a Critic Audience Review Prize judging panel. Other members of the judging panel include: Robert Commanday, founding editor of San Francisco Classical Voice, Wynne Delacoma, contributor Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Classical Review and Musical America, and Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice.  

 

 

Performance Partners: the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

 

Conservatory/University Partners: University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Yale School of Music and SFCM.

 

Please visit www.sfcm.edu/rubin-institute for further details about The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, including: participants’ biographies and photos; event locations and times; links to websites to purchase tickets to performances; information on the musicians and ensembles performing during the week-long series, information regarding the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, and the $1,000 Everyone’s A Critic Audience Review Prize for the best review by an audience member of a concert performed during the Institute.

 

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, the Rubin Prize in Music Criticism and the Everyone’s A Critic Public Audience Review Prize are made possible by the generosity of Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co.

 

***

 

About The San Francisco Conservatory of Music:

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is the oldest conservatory in the American West and has earned an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. Notable alumni include Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Jeffrey Kahane, Aaron Jay Kernis and Robin Sutherland, among others. The Conservatory offers its approximately 400 collegiate students fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in composition and instrumental and vocal performance. Its Pre-College Division provides exceptionally high standards of musical excellence and personal attention to more than 580 younger students. The Conservatory’s faculty and students give nearly 500 public performances each year, most of which are offered to the public at no charge. Its community outreach programs serve over 1,600 school children and over 11,000 members of the wider community who are otherwise unable to hear live performances. The Conservatory’s Civic Center facility is an architectural and acoustical masterwork, and the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall was lauded by The New York Times as the “most enticing classical-music setting” in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit www.sfcm.edu.

 

Download the media release in PDF format.

Download information about the Everyone’s a Critic prize here.

Learn more about the 2014 journalists, critics, and experts in the field here.

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