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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Rubin Institute announces 2014 writing fellows, including four from Yale

San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) announced this week the names of the 17 young writers participating in the public and private events comprising the 2014 Rubin Institute for Music Criticism. Taking place in San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area November 5–10, 2014, the biennial Institute, now in its second season, is devoted to the advancement of classical music criticism and aims 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.

The fellows from the Yale School of Music are Jacob Ashworth, Fiona Last, Daniel Schlosberg, and Scarlett Tong Zuo.

Birgit Hottenrott, Executive Director of the Rubin Institute, welcomed the Rubin Fellows, saying: "It is with pleasure that I introduce the 2014 Rubin Institute Fellows. With various musical backgrounds encompassing studies in oboe, violin, guitar, cello, piano, composing, conducting, recording engineering, musicology, music history and singing, these young writers will bring an eagerness to both enhance their skills in the craft of writing music and to express their generation's perspectives on the art of music criticism."

The rest of the fellows are, from the University of California, Berkeley: Landon Bain, Christopher James King and Theodora Martin; from Stanford University: Joe Cadagin and Anna Whittstruck; from Oberlin Conservatory of Music- Daniel Hautzinger, Jarrett Hoffman, Zoe Madonna and Aaron Wolff; and from SFCM: Joseph Christianson, Brian Fitzsousa, Patrick Galvin, and John Zientek

During the week-long Institute, the Rubin Fellows will:

  • attend the public Keynote Address by The New York Times Chief Music Critic Anthony Tommasini (a graduate of the Yale School of Music), which opens the Rubin Institute on November 5 at 5 PM at SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall;
  • review each of the four concerts offered November 6 through 9 presented by the 2014 Performance Partners: the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra;
  • experience the reality of professional deadlines by having to submit their reviews by a specific time following each concert;
  • have their work publicly and privately critiqued by the Institute's Writers Panel (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.);
  • attend all Institute Public Panel discussions featuring members of the Institute's Faculty Critics November 6 and 8 at 2 PM at SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, and November 9 at 11 AM at the University of California, Berkeley's Hertz Hall;
  • attend all four pre-performance lectures given by: Alex Ross (November 6 at 7 PM, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco), Heidi Waleson (November 7 at 7:15 PM, Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco), Anne Midgette (November 8 at 6:35 PM, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco) and John Rockwell (November 9 at 2 PM Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley).

In addition, select Rubin Fellows' reviews will be posted on the Institute's website, and considered for the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, to be awarded to one of the Fellows at the Closing Ceremony of the Institute on November 10 at 10 AM at SFCM's Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall.

The 2014 Rubin Institute Fellows from YSM

Jacob Ashworth serves as violinist, conductor and Artistic Director of the vocal and instrumental chamber ensemble Cantata Profana, and as Music Director for Heartbeat Opera. A performer of all styles, Ashworth has been praised by The New York Times as a baroque violinist for his "diligent attention to period style," and is a current member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble, while his other recent highlights range from a recital of the complete Brahms sonatas to a staged production of Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire at the Yale Cabaret, a tour in Mexico to premiere his commission of Francisco Ladrón de Guevara's Variations for Solo Violin, and conducting the premiere of Daniel Schlosberg's opera Frau Trude. Performances as a duo with pianist Lee Dionne have recently included the premiere of Susan Kander's Hermestänze, a cycle for violin and piano which Ashworth also commissioned. Ashworth continues to exhibit a virtuosic breadth of ability and deep love of collaboration this season, embarking on a fully staged production of György Kurtag's Kafka Fragments with mezzo Annie Rosen, returning to Mexico for two concert series, giving recitals in New York, New Jersey and New Haven, visiting Banff, Canada for artist residencies, and touring Europe with the Yale Schola Cantorum.

Fiona Last is currently a Master's candidate at the Yale School of Music. An oboist, she also holds Bachelor's degrees in oboe performance from Temple University, and Arabic and ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Last has performed concertos in the US, UK and Spain, and is an active orchestral and chamber musician, working with conductors such as John Adams, Peter Oundjian, Vladimir Jurowski and Krzysztof Penderecki. As a proponent of new music she has performed with the Zephyrus Project Orchestra, ConTemplum Composer's Orchestra, Brevard ITCH Ensemble and as a soloist at Bowdoin's Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music. She also studies the Baroque oboe, is an active choral singer and was a member of the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble. She is originally from Southampton, England.

Daniel Schlosberg is a composer and pianist who has had his works played by the Dover Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Yale Philharmonia, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Yale Baroque Ensemble, Lorelei Ensemble and David Shifrin. Schlosberg was awarded a 2014 Charles Ives Scholarship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Recent theatrical work includes his chamber opera Frau Trude, arrangement/music direction of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins (Heartbeat Opera), re-orchestration/conducting of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George (Yale School of Drama), and performance of a staged version of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire (Yale Cabaret). This spring, Schlosberg will music direct Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Yale Repertory Theatre, premiering a score by David Lang written especially for the production. Schlosberg has appeared at Chamber Music Northwest and the Phoenix Winter Chamber Music Festival, where he has performed with such artists as Fred Sherry, Ani Kavafian, Alan Vogel and Tara Helen O'Connor. Upcoming projects include a set of operas based on Grimm fairy tales and a work for the Yale Symphony Orchestra to commemorate its 50th season. Schlosberg received his MM and MMA degrees from the Yale School of Music, studying with Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Aaron Kernis and Chris Theofanidis.

Scarlett Tong Zuo, a junior history major at Yale University, is passionate about music. A Beijing, China native, she has been playing the piano since age five, and has performed with major symphony orchestras across China. At Yale, she is also a singer and the undergraduate student conductor of the Yale Glee Club, Yale's principal undergraduate mixed choir and oldest musical organization. Aside from music, Zuo serves as the vice president of the Chinese undergraduate society, writes art reviews and contributes frequently to the China Hands magazine. Having worked at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Opera Theatre of Yale College, Zuo is interested in a career in arts administration and education, and hopes to promote intercultural dialogue in the future.


About the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

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. The biennial institute comprises a weeklong 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. Leading up to the Institute, the seventeen student writers will prepare for the Institute at each of their nominating universities.

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