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By Daniel Hathaway

Oberlin, OH — January 24, 2012. At a Sunday morning ceremony in Klonick Hall of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music on January 22, Dean David Stull and donor Stephen Rubin announced the winners of the grand prize and public prize in the first bi-annual Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, which began on January 18.

Rubin Winner

The $10,000 prize went to Jacob Street (above, with Rubin and Stull), a master’s candidate in historical performance from North Reading, MA. In a surprise development, the panel awarded honorable mention to Megan Emberton, a senior piano major from Chelsea, MI, along with a cash award of $2,500. Read the rest of this entry »


By Megan Emberton

EmbertonIt was destiny. I was a weary piano student, disenchanted with life at a music school, home for an entire summer because I had felt far too wretched to land myself a spot at any summer festivals. And then we met. The accordion was waiting for me, behind the jewelry counter at a local junk shop. It was very 1960s, gold accents, ridiculous, smelled like mildew, and it was the answer to all of my problems. I hemmed and hawed for a couple of hours, then blew three hundred bucks on an instrument I couldn’t really play. My visiting aunt chipped in because when I strapped that box on my shoulders, my gloomy face lit up for the first time all summer. We were made for each other, the accordion and me.

My instrument and I were relegated to playing outside for the first few weeks. With every push and pull, the bellows would billow a musty plume of dust. My mother said that sunlight exposure is key for getting rid of mold and mildew — oh, and accordions are loud instruments whether or not you can play them properly. I spent a lot of time sitting on a stool in the driveway, getting used to playing a keyboard sideways and negotiating the mysteries of the 120 bass buttons my left hand had to contend with. I am still not sure what the neighbors thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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