Youth orchestra pioneer dies, aged 97

Youth orchestra pioneer dies, aged 97


norman lebrecht

December 10, 2013

Marvin Rabin founded the Kentucky Youth Symphony in Louisville, followed by the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, which played for President Kennedy at the White House, and, in 1963, the enduring Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

He was the guide and inspiration for innumerable professional musicians in the US and beyond.

marvin rabin


  • Felipe Izcaray says:

    Since I attended the UW School of music, I did meet Maestro Rabin. He was, besides his music skills, a true gentleman and leader. There was always a kind word of encouragement for me, and interest in my activities as a foreign student. He was a true pedagogue. His beloved youth orchestra is in full activity in Madison.

  • Brian says:

    I met Marvin at a conducting workshop in the late 90s. Our relationship was recultivated when I entered the doctoral program at UW-Madison. Suffice to say, he rarely missed an orchestra concert and always had kind words about my work. I understand that he was still seen on campus on a regular basis and was planning on attending the Midwest Clinic, to be held next week in Chicago. His energy for teaching never waned; he was truly an “institution” in the world of string pedagogy. RIP Marvin.

  • jon says:

    Small correction: Rabin directed the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra (founded in 1947) in Lexington.

  • John says:

    I knew Marv from his days when he arrived in Wisconsin. In addition to his obvious musicianship, he was one of the most generous and supportive human beings I’ve ever known. He was the perfect choice to be the founder of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of the many things that will carry his mark as long as it exists. A real pioneer and giant in the youth orchestra movement.

    • Felipe Izcaray says:

      I totally agree. I used to attend his saturday rehearsals with the WYSO. They were entertaining and educative, and he was such a gentleman!