Anteaters in the Arts: Eliza Rubenstein
On June 17, Eliza Rubenstein (M.F.A. ’97) stepped onto the conductor’s podium at Carnegie Hall — for the second time. In June 2017, Rubenstein conducted the Carnegie Hall premiere of Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave, a powerful reflection on racial justice and hard-won freedoms. While it would be hard to top the “emotional wallop” of that experience, Rubenstein said, “I couldn’t be more excited” about conducting her students, other singers and a professional orchestra in Haydn’s Paukenmesse, or Mass in Time of War. “It’s a work that mines joy from a world of strain and stress, and that’s surely a timely model for all of us.”
“I’m well qualified to tell my students that they don’t have to take a traditional path in order to have a fulfilling life in music."
Rubenstein is director of choral and vocal activities and music department chair at Orange Coast College, artistic director of the Orange County Women’s Chorus, and artistic director of the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. She discovered her passion for choral conducting during her senior year at Oberlin College, where she was an English major. Joseph Huszti, director of choral activities at UCI from 1977 to 2014, “welcomed me with warmth,” Rubenstein said. A highlight of her UCI years was performing at the International Choral Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
After finishing her master’s in choral conducting, Rubenstein worked for 10 years as an animal-shelter administrator before shifting to music full time. “I’m well qualified to tell my students that they don’t have to take a traditional path,” she said,” in order to have a fulfilling life in music.”Read the full version of the quarterly magazine for UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts