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February 13, 2014

CSU alumnus Corey Rubin composes for Carnegie Hall

By Hannah Corcoran

Between composing, singing, studying in graduate school and creating crossword puzzles for major national newspapers, Corey Rubin, Cleveland State University alumnus has been busy since he graduated last year.

He was especially busy last Friday night, Feb. 7, when he was in New York City for the performance of his original composition at Carnegie Hall.

Rubin’s piece was commissioned by the music department at Duxbury High School in Duxbury, Mass. Duxbury has an established music program that takes their ensembles on tour, according to Rubin.

“They knew there would be performances for their top chorus, string ensemble, and wind ensemble, but they wanted one piece that would combine all three ensembles,” Rubin said. “Lucky for me, the chorus teacher at Duxbury is an old friend of mine (also a CSU alum), Robert Judge…he put my name in for consideration and I guess he was persuasive.”

Rubin’s piece is based on a Walt Whitman poem, “After the Dazzle of Day is Gone” and a poem by Richard Eugene Burton titled, “The Broadening of the Light is Like a Strain.” Whitman’s poem is about the transition from day to night, while Burton’s is about the transition from night to day, according to Rubin.

“I then jumbled the poems together to create a kind of constantly changing medley of different times of day--sunrises, sunsets, bright moments, dark moments,” he said. “The idea was to present the cycle of night and day from a more removed perspective, where light and dark periods just look like adjacent tiles on a much bigger mosaic.”

Rubin faced some challenges writing for such a large ensemble.

“The wind ensemble can very easily overpower the strings and the chorus, so I had to be very careful about orchestration,” Rubin said. “I tried to mix intimate moments that could highlight individual instrument groups, with brief glimpses of the full power of the ensemble.”

Rubin graduated from Cleveland State last year with a bachelor’s degree in music composition.

He credits the composition program at Cleveland State for his success, especially Dr. Andrew Rindfleisch and Dr. Greg D’Alessio.

He looks at making music as a learning experience.

“As far as composing music, for me, it’s a way of putting yourself out there, and hopefully causing some emotional or intellectual responses in the minds of a few listeners or performers,” Rubin said.

Rubin is currently a member of NOTUS, the contemporary vocal ensemble at Indiana University. He has also been a member of the Cleveland Orchestra for eight seasons. His crossword puzzles have been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday and Games Magazine.