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Oberlin Conservatory Announces Rubin Institute Prize Winners

Jan. 22, 2012

WebStephen Rubin, Jacob Street, David H
Jacob Street ’12, center, winner of the $10,000 Rubin Prize. Stephen Rubin, left, and Dean David Stull, right. Photo by Tony Morrision

Oberlin Conservatory of Music announces
Jacob Street of North Reading, Massachusetts, recipient of $10,000 Rubin Prize for Music Criticism
and
Samantha London of Baltimore, Maryland, recipient of $1,000 Public Review Prize

In a last-minute surprise, Honorable Mentions named in both Prize categories: Megan Emberton of Chelsea, Michigan, recipient of $2,500 Rubin Prize HM, Earl Pike of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, recipient of $250 Public Review HM

Naming of Prize recipients brings inaugural Rubin Institute for Music Criticism to a close


At the culminating ceremony held on campus, Oberlin Conservatory of Music announced the recipients of the two prizes of its new biennial Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, the first-ever program of its kind focusing on performance and performance review.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music Dean David H. Stull ’89, and Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co. and benefactor of the Rubin Institute, awarded Rubin Institute Fellow Jacob Street of North Reading, Massachusetts, the  $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism. Street will use the prize to support further study or internships in the field of music criticism over the next two years. He was selected by Rubin and a panel of prominent national critics following a week-long series of public events, including performances, keynote addresses by journalists, critical review and discussion panels. One of 10 students chosen to participate in the Rubin Institute from Oberlin Conservatory’s new course, Introduction to Music Criticism, Street benefited from intensive workshops in music criticism, working with some of today’s most respected writers in the field (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;  and Tim Page, professor, journalism and music, USC, and author), in both public and private panel discussions. He also reviewed performances by The Cleveland Orchestra, pianist Jeremy Denk ’90, the baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which included the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang’s new work, my international.

In making the announcement, Dean Stull ’89 stated, “This has been an enormously successful project and I have been inspired by the work of our students, the response of our wonderful audience, and the phenomenal investment of energy and time by our distinguished guests; this panel of critics has been superb. I extend my abiding gratitude to Steve Rubin for his generous investment in this endeavor. He has provided us with an unsurpassed opportunity to enhance the public discourse on classical music and I look forward with enthusiasm to the future of this program.” 

Rubin added, “I never imagined anything on the visionary level of this extraordinary program. For that I thank David Stull, for his audacious ambition and muscular execution, the splendid, insightful and constructive critics, but most importantly, the 10 enormously talented and receptive young critics, and, of course, the winner.”

Reflecting on the announcement, Street said, “It’s an honor to have won the Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, and to have been a part of this week. It was exhausting, but a fantastic opportunity to learn about criticism with great friends and teachers.”

In a surprise turn of events, the panel also chose to award an honorable mention of $2,500 to Megan Emberton of Chelsea, Michigan, for her work during the Institute.  “I’m happy to have won an Honorable Mention,” stated Emberton. “The Institute was an intense but very rewarding experience.”

The institute, as part of its goal to be a positive force in the art of writing and talking about music, as well as a catalyst in sparking dialogue on the topic, offered members of the public the opportunity to try their hand at critiquing.                                                                                                                                          

The $1,000 Public Review Prize, selected by a trio of professional critics (Daniel Hathaway, Founder, ClevelandClassical.com; Donald Rosenberg, journalist and President of the Music Critics Association of North America, and Mike Telin ’84, Executive Editor, ClevelandClassical.com, was awarded to Samantha London of Baltimore, Maryland, for her review of pianist Jeremy Denk’s concert.

London, who is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in piano performance at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, traveled to Oberlin for the week specifically for the institute, and was excited to win the Public Review Prize. “I hope to move in the direction of music criticism, so for me this is well-timed and incredibly validating, as well as an immense boost to my confidence. I was gratified to be able to engage in the concerts, and have the opportunity to craft my reactions.”

An honorable mention was awarded to Earl Pike of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, a consultant for non-profit organizations, also for his review of the Denk recital. Pike will receive $250. “I am touched to receive the award. It was fun to do and it was nice to receive the recognition.”

In addition to public concerts and panel discussions, several keynote addresses covering a wide variety of subjects in music criticism were presented by Alex Ross, Anne Midgette, Heidi Waleson, John Rockwell, Tim Page, and Charles Michener. An engaging discussion on music and the creation, performance, and reception of music in the 21st century by composer David Lang, pianist Jeremy Denk ’90, and flutist Claire Chase ’01, founder of ICE, was also part of the Institute.

Full details on the Rubin Institute, including concert reviews by the Rubin Fellows and members of the public, biographies on all those involved, concert programs and more, can be found at The Institute’s website, www.oberlin.edu/rubininstitute.

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism and the $1,000 Public Review Prize are made possible at Oberlin Conservatory of Music by the generosity of Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co.

2012 Rubin Institute for Music Criticism Participants

Writers Panel

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

Teachers Panel, Introduction to Music Criticism
Daniel Hathaway, Founder, ClevelandClassical.com
Donald Rosenberg, journalist and President of the Music
     Critics Association of North America
Mike Telin ’84, Executive Editor, ClevelandClassical.com
Brian Alegant, Faculty Coordinator; professor   
     and Director, Music Theory Division, Oberlin
     Conservatory of Music

Guest Speaker, Introduction to Music Criticism
Charles Michener, author and journalist

Rubin Institute Fellows
Charlotte Dutton ’12, North Hollywood, California
Megan Emberton ’12, Chelsea, Michigan
Meghan Farnsworth ’12, Wellington, Ohio
Mandy Hogan ’13, Jersey Village, Texas
Gabe Kanengiser ’14, Los Angeles, California
Susan Lee ’12, Los Angeles, California
Chad Putka ’12, Worthington, Ohio
Sam Rosenberg ’13, Brooklyn, New York
Jacob Street ’12, North Reading, Massachusetts
Matthew Young ’15, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Press Contact:
Laura Grant, Grant Communications T: 978.208.0552; E-mail: Laura@grant-communications.com
Jessica R. Downs, Assistant Director of Conservatory Communications T: 440-775-5474; E-mail: jrdowns@oberlin.edu


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