Vocal talent and journey as blind mezzo-soprano - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, March 5, 2013—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

Submitted by Ohlone College.

Laurie Rubin.Sharing both a classically trained voice and her unique journey as a blind musician, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, showcases an extensive and rich repertoire at the Smith Center at Ohlone College Saturday, March 9.

Her performances extend beyond solo recitals to concerts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and duets with opera star and mentor Frederica von Stade, among others. Rubin has performed in Lincoln Center and the White House. Los Angeles Times special critic Josef Woodard comments that Rubin is a "compelling force at the center of the music."

Rubin began playing piano at the age of three. Her piano teacher recommended singing lessons, as she was singing along as she played. "That is where everything snowballed," says Rubin.

In her adult years, Rubin continued her musical career at Oberlin College and went on to receive a Master's in music from Yale. Rubin was presented with the 2010-2011 Yale Alumni Ventures Grant, awarded to develop a curriculum aimed at dispelling stereotypes faced by disabled individuals. Rubin is currently an Artist in Residence in Saratoga at Montalvo Art and was recently interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED.

Laurie Rubin."I get so tired of talking about myself as a blind person all the time. What I would really like to see happen is to have more blind people have the opportunity of living as a normal person without being a novelty all the time," says Rubin. Rubin credits her success to her supportive family and mentors, including Kenny Loggins, who she names as her first teacher, as well as her grandparents who regularly played opera music in their home. "I was mesmerized by the sound of it. It was just different than everything that I have ever heard and so I started to just imitate the sounds to see if I could make the sounds myself."

In an interview with San Francisco Chronicle's music critic Joshua Kosman, Rubin commented that "my blindness is my biggest strength, and I hope to challenge people to use all their best resources and skills to achieve their dreams."

Rubin defied all odds and expectations, accomplishing many things she was told that she would never be able to do, such as performing a number of operatic roles, including leading roles. In addition, Rubin has co-founded a handful of ensemble groups and the performing arts festival and school, Ohana Arts, in Hawaii where she now lives. Rubin also published "Do You Dream in Color? Insights from a Girl Without Sight," a memoir of her life, musical career and conquering blindness. Along with her memoir, Rubin also released a CD with the same title to showcase the feelings captured in her book. And if that was not enough, she also designs her own jewelry.

For more information about Laurie Rubin or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.smithcenter.com or call (510) 659-6031.

  • Smith Center Presents!
    Mezzo-Soprano Laurie Rubin
  • Saturday, Mar 9
  • 8 p.m.
  • Smith Center at Ohlone College
    43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
  • (510) 659-6031
  • http://www.smithcenter.com
  • Tickets: $20 General Admission, $18 Seniors/Staff/Students, $15 Youth under 12
  • $2 Event Parking

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