Rubin, Joel

JoelRubin by David Kaufman

“Joel Rubin is Assistant Professor of Music in the Performance Program at the University of Virginia. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and received a BFA in clarinet performance from the State University of New York at Purchase (1978). His principal teachers were Richard Stoltzman and Kalmen Opperman. Rubin holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from City University of London (2001). Rubin is an internationally acclaimed performer of Jewish instrumental klezmer music and hasidic music. In addition to performances with traditional musicians such as the Epstein Brothers (USA) and Moshe Berlin (Israel), he was the founder and clarinetist of some of the most internationally respected klezmer ensembles, including the Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble and Brave Old World. Rubin’s fifth solo album, “Midnight Prayer”, came out in 2007 on Traditional Crossroads. His music can be heard in several films, including the award-winning documentary portrait “A Tickle in the Heart” (Germany/Switz./USA 1996), which is based on his research and screenplay. Rubin has concertized throughout Europe, North America and Asia. As a clinician, he has taught together with Kalmen Opperman and Richard Stoltzman at the Clarinet Summit (2004) and held master classes and workshops at the University of Oregon, the New England Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, Yale University, Syracuse University, and for the Israeli and Berlin Ministries of Education. Rubin wrote the first full-length doctoral thesis on Jewish instrumental klezmer music, combining extensive ethnographic work among the oldest surviving generation of American klezmer musicians with historical and analytical methods to examine the cultural and musical milieu of Eastern European Jewish immigrant wedding instrumentalists in New York in the early 20th century. Further research interests include: music and trauma; music and professionalism; music and diaspora; music and identity; music and religion; folk music revivals; musical hybridity; hasidic music; American Jewish popular music; Jewish musical traditions of the Middle East and beyond; and art and urban popular traditions of the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East. Rubin is co-author of the books “Klezmer-Musik” (Bärenreiter/dtv, 1999) and “Jüdische Musiktraditionen” (Jewish Musical Traditions; Gustav Bosse-Verlag, 2001), the author of “Mazltov! Jewish-American Wedding Music for Clarinet” (Schott Musik International, 1998), and the co-curator of the ongoing Jewish Music Series of CDs for Schott’s Wergo label (11 completed productions to date). He has received grants from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (Vladimir and Pearl Heifetz Memorial Fellowship, Joseph Kremen Memorial Fellowship), Cornell Council for the Arts, and the Pro Musica Viva Foundation. Prior to UVa, he taught at Cornell University, Syracuse University, Ithaca College and Humboldt Universität Berlin.” –University of Virginia website. In 1994 Rubin organized a 6-member group and performed widely throughout Europe. That music is available through His website with Rita Ottens is at:
The wikipedia article on Joel is at: