Connecting Community Through Music
Avital Rabinowitz Sets the Tempo for Rochester Public Music

Founded in 1936, Rochester Public Music plays a pivotal role in enriching and strengthening the local community, as well as contributing to its cultural, social and educational well-being. Avital Rabinowitz, director over the past two years, is dedicated to “bringing people together by creating fun and memorable live music experiences.” With a wealth of education, experience and passion, her influence extends beyond structuring popular musical performances, as she shapes the program’s identity and enhances the lives of area residents and guests.

Helping others live artful lives

Formerly recognized as Rochester Civic Music, the city’s music department recently rebranded and adopted the new name, Rochester Public Music, in addition to revitalized programming and an updated website. Rabinowitz’s background in arts administration—along with degrees in music, arts leadership and business—equip her to drive transformative changes that will enhance impact in the community.

An early, unplanned learning experience influenced Rabinowitz’s career path and solidified her passion to help others live art-inspired lives. “I pursued an internship at the Minnesota Opera on a whim and fell in love with opera,” she explains. “That led to studying music in college and interning at the Metropolitan Opera, where I worked behind the scenes on radio and video broadcasts.” 

She then moved from New York back to Minnesota and took a role at Minnesota Public Radio. “When the position opened up at RPM, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Community first

“We use a team approach to programming and try to think broadly,” says Rabinowitz. “We think about the community first and try to determine what will meet the community’s needs.” As a result, the department offers a diverse lineup of free annual programming including: 

• Down by the Riverside: Summer outdoor concert series with local food vendors and giveaways
• FORWARD: Concerts highlighting local bands and regional headliners.
• Sound School: A musician’s week-long tour of schools, concluding with a public concert
• Passport Sessions: Events highlighting a wide variety of cultures and traditions

“My goal for Rochester Public Music is that the community feels connected to, excited about and proud of the events that we create for residents and visitors,” adds Rabinowitz. “I look forward to continuing to grow and shape our events to reflect the needs and interests of this community.” 

Empowered by strong support 

Rabinowitz values working relationships with colleagues at the city of Rochester, especially team members in the Parks and Recreation Department, Rochester Public Library and Communications Department. Furthermore, she has strong partnerships with local and regional arts communities, and collaborates closely with fellow arts leaders, artists, promotional partners, local businesses and team members to deliver the best live music experiences to the community.

Above all, Rabinowitz is honored to engage, educate and inspire the community through Rochester Public Music events. “I love seeing folks of all ages enjoying themselves and the music in our beautiful local parks,” she says. “It is a privilege to serve the community—I genuinely believe that I have the best job in the world!” ::

Spotlight on women shaping the local music scene 

Rochester Public Music staff:
• Avital Rabinowitz, director
• Mary Fuhrmeister, operations coordinator
• Rosei Skipper, marketing and public relations specialist

About Author

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Trish is a Rochester-area freelance writer who is inspired by and honored to share the stories of courageous, strong and amazing women in and around the Rochester community.

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