Eliza Rubenstein

Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Orange Coast College


Eliza Rubenstein is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Orange Coast College and the Artistic Director of the Orange County Women’s Chorus and the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. Born in Missouri to a musical family, Eliza first requested violin lessons at age 4 so that she could “play on street corners for money” when she grew up; though she adjusted her career plans, she continues to play and teach violin and viola as well as directing choirs. She studied English literature and choral conducting at Oberlin College in Ohio before earning her Master’s Degree in choral conducting at UC-Irvine.

Ensembles under Eliza’s direction have performed at Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall’s REDCAT Theater, the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the 2004 and 2012 Western Division conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association, and the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, where the OCWC was a 2015 prizewinner. She conducted the Carnegie Hall premiere of Kirke Mechem’s cantata Songs of the Slave in 2017, and she serves the California Choral Directors’ Association as editor-in-chief of Cantate magazine. The Orange County Register has praised her “expert direction,” and the Long Beach Gazette has said that “musically and technically, she has it all.”

For eight years, Eliza was the assistant supervisor of the Irvine Animal Care Center; she is the co-author of a 1995 book about dog adoption, and she’s remembered for her ACDA conference presentation called “Sit, Stay, Sing: What Choral Conductors Can Learn from Dog Trainers.” Eliza lives in Costa Mesa, California, where her family includes her partner, Julie Fischer; a yellow Labrador and retired service dog named Dayton; and a grey cat named Wilbur. Besides music and animals, her passions include photography, progressive politics, and anything to do with the St. Louis Cardinals.