ORANGE COUNTY WOMEN’S CHORUS
Eliza Rubenstein is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Orange Coast College, and the Artistic Director of the international prize-winning Orange County Women’s Chorus and the Long Beach Chorale & Chamber Orchestra. Born into a musical family in Missouri, she told her parents when she was 4 that she wanted to take violin lessons so that she could “play on street corners for money” when she grew up. Though that particular career path was diverted, she studied choral conducting and English literature at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music before moving to California to earn her master’s degree at UC-Irvine. Choruses under her direction have performed throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, and she made her Carnegie Hall debut in June 2017, conducting the Carnegie premiere of Kirke Mechem’s choral-orchestral cantata Songs of the Slave. She also serves on the board of the California Choral Directors’ Association as the editor of the award-winning Cantate magazine. Eliza is a former animal-shelter supervisor and the co-author of a book about dog adoption; she even presented a seminar called “Sit, Stay, Sing!: What Choral Conductors Can Learn from Dog Trainers” at the 2006 ACDA western-division convention. Her family includes her partner, Julie; a yellow Labrador and retired service dog, Dayton; and a grey cat, Wilbur. When not making music, Eliza’s passionate about photography, grammar, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Orange County Women’s Chorus, celebrating its 20th anniversary season and directed since 2000 by Eliza Rubenstein, has become one of southern California’s leading choruses. The OCWC has performed at regional venues including the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Irvine Barclay Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall’s REDCAT Theater, and the 2004 and 2012 western regional conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association, and further afield at Great St. Mary’s (Cambridge), Bristol Cathedral, Chepstow Castle, and Carnegie Hall. The chorus was named a 2014 Outstanding Arts Organization by Arts Orange County and won a prize at the 2015 International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
The OCWC’s wide-ranging repertoire especially emphasizes contemporary and little-known works. The chorus is committed to exploring works by women composers of the past and the present, and has commissioned new works by Kirke Mechem, Ruth Huber, Angel Lam, Dale Trumbore, Sharon Farber, and Joan Szymko. The OCWC website hosts a nationally-known database of choral works by women composers at www.womencomposers.ocwomenschorus.org.
The chorus’s members include teachers, professors, nurses, executives, students, artists, activists, mothers, and grandmothers, many of whom made their Carnegie Hall debut performing Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave under the baton of Eliza Rubenstein in June 2017. Learn more about the OCWC and take a look behind the scenes in our new video! Visit www.ocwomenschorus.org.