Anna Rubin, Explorer of Cultural Intersections, Joins Faculty

The ideals of classical music and cultural studies will soon converge at Oberlin and find a symphonic outlet through Anna Rubin, who joins the Conservatory as assistant professor of composition this fall. Rubin is a composer of instrumental and electronic music who brings a personal and political voice to the art of composition.Anna Rubin

A graduate of Princeton University and the California Institute of the Arts for Composition, Rubin seeks to explore issues of gender and cultural studies through her music. Her most recent piece, Family Stories: Sophie, Sally for computer-generated tape, flute, clarinet, and cello tells the biographical story of Rubin's mother, a child of Russian Jewish immigrants raised by an African-American woman--a combination of women's studies and cross-cultural relationships which typifies Rubin's work.

According to Rubin, "gender studies broadens the point of view of the composer, creating awareness and recognition of what one's music truly represents, whom it is directed to and what power paradigms are represented. Gender and cross-cultural studies ultimately increases cultural sensitivity, especially for the composer who often comes to recognize his or her own biases while trying to represent the spirit of our time."

Rubin's version of this cultural representation fuses various electronic media with traditional instrumentation. Considered an authority on electro-acoustic music, she says "the acoustic research that researchers and composers in the field have compiled has illuminated issues that apply to music regardless of how you compose. Electronic media simply allows me to extend ideas I use in instrumental music and provide a far greater pallet of sources of ambient sounds and environmental sounds."

Anna Rubin's unique pallet of sounds has been heard in performances throughout Europe, North America and Mexico. Her work encompasses many genres, from chamber and choral music to purely electro-acoustic music. She is the recipient of several awards for her work and numerous commissions.

Rubin is a member of the NY Foundation for the Arts, Arts International, ASCAP, International Computer Music Association, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS), International Association of Women Musicians, American Composers Forum, Independent Composers Association (former president and co-founder), and the Society of Composers, Inc.

As a composition faculty member, Rubin hopes "to help students find their own voice and identify core concepts, which will then allow them to organize a broader field of information into a usable form showing the broad continuity of music from early to present." A lofty goal, but definitely within the grasp of a composer whose ideological specificity has influenced a broad range of people and incorporated many genres in the world of music.