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Rubin Institute Announces Fourth Biennial Music Criticism Week

August 28, 2018

Get ready for an influx of music critics, San Francisco. It’s an even-numbered year and that means the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism will be making its fourth biennial, low-key appearance in the city by the bay in partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Like SFCV, the Rubin Institute is dedicated to the proposition that arts journalism can be kept alive and well, and to that end, the Institute brings a number of eminent critics together to teach graduate students and other emerging writers the art of writing music journalism. The 18 Rubin Fellows hail from all over the U.S. and compete for a $10,000 first prize.

In addition, 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, San Francisco Classical Voice will offer six-month paid internships to the winner and the runner-up of the 2018 Rubin Institute. Part of SFCV's Emerging Writers Program, the interns will write one review a month under the mentorship of some of SFCV's most highly accomplished music critics.

The writers’ panel is as distinguished as ever, with Gary Giddens, Joshua Kosman, Anne Midgette, Tim Page, John Rockwell, Alex Ross, Heidi Waleson, and Stephen Rubin (president of Henry Holt and Co., and SFCM trustee).

This year, jazz has been added to the program: Giddens is on hand to mentor students in the art of writing on jazz and SFJAZZ will partner with the Institute and the Fellows and participants will hear Giddens introduce a concert by Jazzmeia Horn, on Oct. 25. Participants will also see the International Contemporary Ensemble, on Oct. 26 at SFCM, a San Francisco Symphony concert on Oct. 27, and Richard Strauss’s Arabella at S.F. Opera on Oct. 28.

In 2016, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism teamed with the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation to create a new initiative for advancing and maintaining the qualitative discourse on music. Through this innovative approach, the nonprofit consortium partners with news organizations to provide a financially sustainable model for supporting thoughtful and critical journalism across the profession. In the program, news outlets retain complete editorial control over assignments and content, and they provide some funding, as well. Current partnering organizations include The Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Seattle Times, and Toronto Star, among others.

Michael Zwiebach is the senior editor/ content manager for SFCV. He assigns all articles and content, manages the writing staff and does editing. A member of SFCV from the beginning, Michael holds a Ph.D. in music history from the University of California, Berkeley.