2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Marvin Rabin (1916-2013)
Orchestra Conductor, Founder of WYSO
On Saturday, May 21, 2011, Wisconsin Foundation for School Music (WFSM) presented its third-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in Music to Marvin Rabin, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras founder and longtime music educator.
The events, a dinner and awards presentation, were held to honor the man who introduced symphony orchestral music to Wisconsin youth and continues to support music today in Wisconsin and throughout the world. Rabin moved to Wisconsin at age 50, well after he began his career in music; yet his contribution to the state remains unforgettable.
Rabin was born in 1916 in Indiana, and grew up with the intention of becoming a history teacher. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in history and political science; yet soon music entered his life. Rabin is known most for his work with young people. One of the biggest ways in which he has made an impact is the founding WYSO. Rabin began the establishment of WYSO in 1966 after seeing a need for youth participation in music. He reached out to the community in a way that no one had done before, showing his desire to educate and motivate youth’s participation in music throughout Wisconsin.
Rabin has proved to be a musical inspiration throughout the state because he has encouraged countless youth, and adults, to pursue their musical aspirations. Wisconsin music would look nothing like it does today without Marvin Rabin. “I have know Marv as the immensely dedicated musician and educator that he remains to this day. He is a man with a quick mind, a joyous appreciation for music as an art form and for great performances of music – especially by young people,” says UW composer John Stevens who premiered his commissioned piece titled “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man” to honor Rabin at a WYSO concert the day following his award presentation. Because of Rabin’s vision, youth have a place to develop their skills and express themselves through orchestral arrangements.
Music Educator Marvin Rabin, 97, died at UW Hospitals Dec. 5, 2013, after a short illness… “Marvin has always believed that all children deserve to make music and beauty in their lives, and that making music can transcent cultures and economic traditions.” – Previous WFSM Executive Director Michael George