San Francisco Conservatory of Music To Bring The Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism To San Francisco November 5 – 10, 2014

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Media Release



Sam Smith

Director of Communications

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

415.503.6265 | [email protected]

Laura Grant  

Grant Communications
[email protected]



May 15, 2014   


San Francisco Conservatory of Music

To Bring

The Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

To San Francisco November 5 – 10, 2014


Second edition of groundbreaking program will bring

leading music critics, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers together

before the general public

for an intensive week of performances, criticism,

and discussions on writing about classical music


San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera,

Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

to be 2014 Performance Partners


University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Yale School of Music students to participate alongside SFCM students


Week-long series culminates with the awarding of the

$10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism


San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) today announced initial details on another exciting program that has become part of the Conservatory: the first biennial writing institute in the United States solely devoted to classical music criticism, offering invaluable insight, feedback and observations by distinguished journalists to university-level writers in both a public and private setting.


“The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is deeply honored to host The Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism during the week of November 5 – 10, 2014,” said President David H. Stull. “I am grateful to Steve Rubin for his ongoing support of this extraordinary endeavor, which provides an unmatched opportunity for young artists and writers to gather here in San Francisco and explore the world of music criticism with some of its greatest practitioners in the world today.” The intense, week-long program offers young writers unique opportunities to experience first-hand what it is like to write about professional, public performances and work within the contemporary journalistic industry setting.


“We are pleased to announce that San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will present performances as our remarkable partners in The Rubin Institute this fall,” Stull continued. “I am equally proud that our distinguished colleagues in higher education at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Yale School of Music will take part in this incomparable program.” Performances offered November 6 through 9 will serve as subjects for critical writing and discussion by the
Rubin Institute Fellows – student writers from these four educational institutions and SFCM. Fellow is eligible to receive the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism to be awarded at the conclusion of the institute.


In addition to public performances by the above named participating professional organizations, lectures on various topics relating to music criticism will be given prior to most performances by a member of The Rubin Institute’s Writers Panel, a group of highly esteemed national music critics and journalists. The pre-concert talks present a rare opportunity for audiences, musicians, and writers alike to hear first-hand from some of the country’s most important writers and commentators.   


Also offered will be public panel discussions featuring members of the Writers Panel. The panels will discuss music criticism, pre-concert articles and reviews of the Institute concerts written by the Rubin Institute Fellows. Further details regarding the Rubin Fellows and other Institute events will be announced later this summer.


Birgit Hottenrott, Executive Director of The Rubin Institute, stated, “The Rubin Institute provides a unique platform to further the art of writing and thinking about music performance. We are thrilled to welcome such distinguished writers from around the country to participate, and to create the opportunity for excellent student writers from SFCM and from our partner schools to work with them in this singularly focused forum. We look forward to the increased dialogue on this very important topic.”


She continued, “The unparalleled learning opportunities The Rubin Institute provides, both to the student writers and the attending public are reinforced by the incredible talent of the journalists and critics who have generously agreed to participate in the Institute as members of the Writers Panel. We look forward to announcing these individuals and the titles of their talks later this summer.”


(Note: journalists participating in The Rubin Institute are not reviewing the above concerts for their respective publications.)


The inaugural edition of The Rubin Institute, held at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2012, featured performances by The Cleveland Orchestra, pianist Jeremy Denk, Apollo’s Fire, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). The Writers Panel included Alex Ross, New Yorker magazine critic and author; Anne Midgette, Washington Post critic and author; Heidi Waleson, Wall St. Journal critic; John Rockwell, writer and arts critic; Tim Page, professor, Journalism and Music, USC, and author; Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher, Henry Holt & Co., and Rubin Institute benefactor, and special guest panelists Greg Sandow, music journalist and composer, Mr. Denk, and Claire Chase, Artistic Director, International Contemporary Ensemble.


To prepare for The Rubin Institute, student writers will work with a special preparatory team at each educational institution this fall. At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, students will benefit from a course entitled Introduction to Music Criticism. All Rubin Fellows will receive invaluable exposure, as their work will be available to a wide audience via The Rubin Institute’s website, to be launched in August 2014. (A preview page is now live at


The Rubin Institute will culminate in the awarding of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism to one of the Rubin Institute Fellows by Mr. Rubin and the Writers Panel, who will jointly select the awardee. The Rubin Prize, intended to support further study or internships in the field of music criticism, will be disbursed over a two-year period. Additional awards will be disclosed later this summer.


A detailed schedule of events, including the concerts, keynote addresses, biographies of the performers, panel members, teachers, and others involved in The Rubin Institute, as well as additional Institute events, will be announced in August.




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

Download the media release in PDF format.


© 2014 San Francisco Conservatory of Music. All Rights Reserved.

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