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Patrick J. Smith

(Victor )

(b Chicago, IL, Oct 5, 1906; d San Francisco, CA, June 22, 1981). American music and art critic. He was educated at the University of Chicago (PhB). From 1934 to 1965 he was music and art critic of the San Francisco Chronicle; although in 1965 he stopped writing music reviews for the Chronicle, he continued to write music criticism and to review records for High Fidelity, Musical America, and other magazines. He taught at the University of California, Harvard and Stanford universities, the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, and the Free University of Berlin. His special interests were American art and music. As a music critic, Frankenstein was chiefly known in the San Francisco Bay area. Among his numerous published articles is a detailed study of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in relation to the Hartmann paintings that inspired it (MQ, xxv, 1939). He wrote several books on art; his books on music are ...

Article

George J. Grella

(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA 1976), where he played jazz piano, sang, composed chamber music, and organized free-jazz ensembles. He moved to New York and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, producing work for Paul Bley’s label Improvising Artists and for composer La Monte Young, while making music on the side. Garland followed the twin paths of piano improvisation and composition for chamber ensembles in the minimalist style and later joined Nigel Rollings’s band Ad Hoc Rock; with Rollings he sang and played drums, guitar, and keyboards and appeared at The Kitchen, Carnegie Hall, and in the Noise Fest at White Columns (1981). In ...

Article

Jayson Greene

(b Boston, MA, Oct 27, 1959). American music critic. Kosman has worked as the classical music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1988. He received a BA in music from Yale College and an MA from the University of California, Berkeley. At the Chronicle, Kosman has championed modern American composers including John Adams, Aaron Jay Kernis, Michael Gordon, Chen Yi, and Lisa Bielawa; he writes about field-wide issues, including orchestra management, the development of contemporary repertoire, and the brief public fascination with the pianist David Helfgott, with a congenial, probing tone that blends a reporter’s instincts with a critic’s acumen. A 2006 recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music criticism, he is a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, 2nd Edition, and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, and his writing has appeared in Gramophone, Opernwelt, Bookforum, Smithsonian, Piano & Keyboard, Symphony...

Article

Matthew Mugmon

(b San Diego, CA, Oct 11, 1954). American writer. He studied with Leonard Altman at the Tanglewood Music Center and charles Jones at Mannes College before attending Columbia University (BA 1979). Page wrote on culture and music for the New York Times (1982–7). He then served as chief classical music critic for Newsday (1987–95) and the Washington Post (1995–9, 2000–8), where he won a Pulitzer Prize (1997). He has subsequently taught music and journalism at the University of Southern California.

Page has shown a particular interest in 20th-century music and a special attraction to minimalism. But his music writing—some of which appears in the collections Music from the Road (New York, 1992) and Tim Page on Music (Portland, OR, 2002)—displays an expansive knowledge of classical and popular repertories, and he has blurred perceived boundaries between these categories. Page also hosted the radio program ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Chicago, IL,May 12, 1944; d Miami, FL, May 13, 2004). American music critic. After a brief period at medical school, Roos, a violinist, gave in to his love for music and pursued a career as a critic, beginning with contributions to the local paper of the University of Illinois-Chicago. From there, he traveled to New York City to write for the Saturday Review. He studied music criticism at the University of Southern California with the assistance of a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. From 1971 until his death in 2004, Roos was the primary music and dance critic for the Miami Herald. Roos began writing at the same time that classical music was beginning to blossom in southern Florida, and although the scene was new, the critic held it to very high standards. Roos regularly flew to Europe to develop his knowledge of music, and his writing was demonstrative of his rigorous study. Of particular importance to Roos was operatic and vocal repertoire, and his contributions to the Florida Grand Opera were key to the group’s success. Another important organization Roos helped promote was Michael Tilson Thomas’s New World Symphony....

Article

Andrea F. Bohlman

(b Washington, DC, Jan 12, 1968). American music critic. He studied English and music at Harvard University (BA 1990). While an undergraduate he worked at the college’s radio station, WHRB, where he sought to promote classical music. He has credited his DJ experience for inspiring him to explore the relationship between popular and classical music, since he also hosted underground rock programs at the station, excavating obscure and experimental music for broadcast. As a critic he has contributed to the New Republic, Slate, Lingua Franca, Fanfare, and Feed. Ross wrote regularly on music for the New York Times from 1992 until his appointment as classical music critic at the New Yorker in 1996. At the latter he has developed a strong profile for 20th-century composition and has implicitly insisted that classical music culture is relevant to contemporary society. His writing has consistently presented music as critically integrated into various avenues of culture from the moment of composition through its continued performance. Through lively analytical writing that has not avoided technical terminology and argumentation, Ross has advocated for music’s accessibility to a general readership. Musical sounds and styles, stories and recollections, and composers and performers have received equal attention throughout his reviews. His fluid sense of musical styles and genres is evident in his occasional attention to American popular music. His first book, ...

Article

Christina Linklater

(b New York, NY, Nov 29, 1941). American music critic and poet. He graduated from Queens College, CUNY (BA 1962, English), and wrote his dissertation on Elizabeth Bishop at Harvard (PhD 1976). He joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Boston in 1981 and in 1994 was named Frederick S. Troy Professor of English. Following a brief period of music criticism in the daily Boston Herald Schwartz began writing for the Boston Phoenix, an arts and entertainment weekly, in 1977; he became classical music editor in 1980 and maintains an exclusive relationship with the Phoenix, writing for no other local outlets. He has also published essays, reviews, and poetry in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The Paris Review, and was a regular reviewer for The Atlantic from 1981 to 1989. Schwartz was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 “for his skillful and resonant classical music criticism.” He holds three ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards, presented for his music writing in the ...

Article

Brendan Higgins

(b Chattanooga, TN, Sept 10, 1946). American composer and writer on music. He received degrees in music from Harvard College (BA 1968) and from the Yale School of Music (MMA 1977, DMA in Composition 1982), studying under earl Kim and jacob Druckman . He also took composition lessons with betsy Jolas as a Tanglewood Fellow in 1977. He has served as a guest professor and lecturer at Harvard College (1989), Tufts University (1989–), and the University of Arizona (2002–3), and a professor of composition, music history, and theory at Boston Conservatory (2004–). Among his awards as a composer are an NEA Composers Grant, two Massachusetts Artists Council Fellowships, and a commission from Chamber Music America.

His compositions include five works for orchestra, a symphony for winds, numerous chamber works, Magus for cello and electronic sound, and the theatrical work ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(bc1945). American music critic. Swed attended the University of California at Berkeley, earning a BA in music, and Mills College (MA). He fostered his interests in contemporary music early in his career, which later led to his service as the editor for 20th-century music for the Musical Quarterly between 1992 and 2000. As chief music critic, Swed wrote for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Wall Street Journal, and 7 Days in New York. He has written pieces for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Economist, Musical America, and Gramophone, among others. Since 1996, Swed has held the position of classical music critic at the Los Angeles Times. Swed has received many honors for his work, including the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (1994) and the Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in ...

Article

Davide Ceriani

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 14, 1948). American music critic and pianist. He studied piano with Donald Currier at Yale University (BA 1970, MMus 1972) and with Leonard Shure at Boston University (DMA 1982). Tommasini has taught music at Emerson College (1978–86) and given nonfiction writing workshops at Wesleyan University and Brandeis University. He was appointed a staff music critic at the New York Times in 1997, and in 2000 he became the paper’s chief classical music critic. Prior to joining the Times, he covered music and theater for the Boston Globe.

He has published two books on the composer Virgil Thomson: Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (New York, 1986; an expanded, revised version of Tommasini’s DMA dissertation) and the critically acclaimed Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle (New York, 1997). Tommasini’s latest book, released in 2004, is Opera: a Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Works and the Best Recordings...