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Oberlin Conservatory of Music Announces the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism $1,000 Public Review Prize

Dec. 08, 2011

Audience In Finney Web
Photo by John Seyfried

OBERLIN, OHIO (December 8, 2011) — David H. Stull, ’89 dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, has announced that the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism (January 18-22, 2012) has added an award for the best review by an audience member of a concert performed during the inaugural institute. The winner of the Public Review Prize, which carries a $1,000 cash award, will be named at the institute’s closing ceremony.

Stull stated, “The core purpose of the Rubin Institute is to expand the discourse on classical music and to encourage robust discussion. All of us have reactions to concerts, but rarely do we refine these reactions into perspectives. In the world of online blogs, we often opt for the former over the latter. During the course of this inaugural week in January, the audience, the critics, and musicians will have an opportunity to engage and consider music, not just hear it. I think it will be a thrilling event.”

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism brings together leading music critics, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers before the public. It is the first program of its kind to focus on performance and performance criticism. Taking place Wednesday, January 18 through Sunday, January 22, 2012 on the Oberlin College campus in Oberlin, Ohio, the biennial institute comprises a week-long series of public events, including performances, keynote addresses by critics, critical review and discussion panels.

The Public Review Prize offers the public another opportunity to engage more fully in the institute. Members of the public who attend one or more of the first three evening concerts (January 18, 19 and 20) are invited to submit a 500-word review of each performance they attend by 9:00 am the following day. Reviews will be submitted via email to (Note: only one review per person per concert may be submitted.)

Guidelines for reviewers state that the review should be written from the perspective of an informed listener, but with a general audience in mind. Opinions should be supported with examples while avoiding technical musical terms. Reviews will be judged on critical acumen, fluency of writing, and clarity of thought. Professional critics Daniel Hathaway (Founder,, Donald Rosenberg (music journalist, The Plain Dealer), and Mike Telin (Executive Editor, will select six reviews from those submitted for each concert.  These reviews will be published on the institute’s website ( before the next evening’s concert and the authors will receive, via email, private comments from the critics on their submissions. From the 18 reviews chosen, the trio of professional critics will award one review the $1000 Public Review Prize, to be announced by Rubin Institute benefactor Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co., on Sunday, January 22 at 11:00 am.

The performances which may be reviewed for the Public Review Prize are:

8:00 pm   Finney Chapel, Oberlin College
The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Smetana: Three movements from Má Vlast
Saariaho: Orion
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6 in B Major, Op. 54

Preceded by a 7:00 pm introduction and welcome
by Dean David H. Stull, and a keynote address by
Alex Ross, New Yorker magazine critic and author

8:00 pm   Finney Chapel, Oberlin College
Jeremy Denk, piano
Ligeti: Etudes for Piano, Book 1
Ligeti: Etudes for Piano, Book 2
Beethoven: TBA

Preceded by a 7:00 pm keynote address
by Anne Midgette, Washington Post critic and author

8:00 pm   Finney Chapel, Oberlin College
Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra
Jeannette Sorrell, conductor
Program to include:

Kocher: For the Beauty of the Earth
Rebel: Les Elémens: Le Cahos, Sicillienne, Le Feu
Vivaldi: "La Tempesta di Mare" (Storm at Sea); Olivier Brault, violin
Vivaldi: Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos
Rameau: Suite from Les Boréades (The North Winds)
Vivaldi/arr. Sorrell: Concerto grosso
"La Follia," after the Sonata XII
Duchiffre: La Beauté de la terre with Apollo's Musettes

Preceded by a 7:00 pm keynote address
by Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal critic.

The final concert of the institute, held on Saturday, January 21 at 8:00 pm, is not eligible to be reviewed for the Public Review Prize. The celebrated International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) conducted by Steven Schick, presents a concert featuring a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, as well as additional works by Lang, Iannis Xanakis and George E. Lewis. (Please visit the institute’s website for further details on this concert.)

The Public Review Prize brings the number of awards to be announced by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism to two.  The first prize is the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, which will go to one of the young writers participating in the Institute.

About the Rubin Institute Fellows
Ten young writers from Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s new fall course, Introduction to Music Criticism, have been selected to participate in the institute. The student writers have worked with a special preparatory team of local journalists and writers while taking the course, a teaching panel that includes Brian Alegant, Professor and Director of the Music Theory Division at the Oberlin Conservatory; Mike Telin ’84, Executive Editor,; Dan Hathaway, Founder,, and Donald Rosenberg, journalist and President of the Music Critics Association of North America. Students also have spent several class sessions with guest speaker Charles Michener, author and former senior editor of The New Yorker. (Details on the Rubin Institute Fellows will be released in the near future.)

The Rubin Fellows will attend and write reviews on each of the four consecutive, open-to-the-public Institute concerts and will have their work critiqued privately and publicly by the Writers Panel. One Fellow will be awarded the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, selected by Stull, Stephen Rubin and the institute’s Writers Panel. The Rubin Prize which may be used to support further study or internships in the field of music criticism, and which will be disbursed over a two-year period, will be awarded on Sunday, January 22 at 11:00 am, after the $1,000 Public Review Prize is announced.


All four Rubin Institute concerts mentioned above are a part of Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series.

Concert Subscription Prices (All four concerts):
Public - $90; Seniors, OCID Faculty,  Staff - $80; Students - $30
With purchase of a subscription, patrons receive complimentary admission to all the Public Panel Sessions.

Single Ticket Price per concert:
Public - $37; Seniors, OCID Faculty, Staff - $27; Students - $12. All tickets are $3 more if purchased at the door.

Public Panel Session tickets if buying individually:
Public -$5 per session; OCID holders and Artist Recital Series subscribers - complimentary

To order Tickets:
In Person: Hall Aud., 67 N. Main St., Oberlin. Open noon to 5:00 pm, M-F.
Phone: 440.775.8169 or 800.371.0178; At the Door: Sales at venue start one hour before performance, subject to availability.

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism and the Rubin Prize in Music Criticism are made possible at Oberlin Conservatory of Music by the generosity of Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co.

For further details on The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, including the Public Review Prize, biographies of all involved, directions and a complete schedule of events, please visit:

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