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Biography of Marvin J. Rabin

Professor Marvin J. Rabin was Emeritus Professor of Music and director of the Wisconsin String and Orchestral Development Program for the Department of Continuing Education in the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was the founding conductor of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras.

Dr Rabin with Students

Dr. Rabin was known internationally as a string development specialist and for his leadership of youth orchestras. In great demand as a string clinician and conducting specialist, he served at many national and state music education conventions and conducted all-state high school orchestras, festivals and workshops in forty-eight states, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Europe. He guest conducted youth orchestras in Canada, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, Costa Rica and the Soviet Union. He has also served as a guest lecturer on string pedagogy around the country. Dr. Rabin also studied the youth orchestra movement in seven European countries and the Suzuki method in Japan.

During his career, Dr. Rabin founded two outstanding youth orchestra programs: the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras in Madison and the Greater Boston Youth Orchestras. He also contributed significantly to the development of the Central Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in Lexington. As a musician, he played the viola in several professional ensembles in Kentucky. Federations of music clubs in several states have presented him with citations for his crusade for strings, his contributions to contemporary music and support for music for youth. In 1977 he received the Distinguished Service Award for meritorious service, the outstanding leadership in music education from the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and in 1984 the University of Wisconsin-Extension Distinguished Service Award. In 1991 the Wisconsin chapter of the American String Teachers Association gave Dr. Rabin their first Distinguished Service Award. In 1992, the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic awarded Dr. Rabin the Distinguished Medal of Honor and in 2000 he received the coveted Wisconsin Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts.

In 2001, the American String Teachers Association honored Dr. Rabin with the creation of a new award: the Marvin J. Rabin Award. It is presented to an individual or organization who makes significant contributions to their community (local, regional or professional) by their string/orchestra teaching and leadership. The Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) has established a Marvin Rabin Archive for his professional papers.