The state of music criticism

Music critic G.B. Shaw

Three recent articles on the state of arts journalism in general and music criticism in particular. These are perceptive pieces, one and all, and not quick reads. The first article takes off from my appointment here at Pacific Symphony to consider a broader perspective.

3 thoughts on “The state of music criticism

  1. There does seem to be a decline in interest in classical music except for the classically trained artist from any classical discipline. Life is different now and we are more spread out, so travel is more difficult, and added to mild interest instead of inspired interest, it is more difficult to get those with little time, money, or need of live classical music to the concert hall. After all there are many radio stations and digital music outlets, plus CD sales on the net that can give us a perfect performance almost every time, and are so easy to engage. Taking a chance on a concert for half a days wage or more becomes even more difficult. Especially if it got a dull review.
    So what does that have to do with critics. I always thought that informed criticism could discourage people even more from attending concerts on a regular basis. It rarely seems criticism is upbeat. Kind of a dry whether in like or dislike of a concert. I always thought every article from a critic should end with this phrase or something like it:

    “This is only my informed opinion, where you there to contribute yours?”

    Something like this encourages an audience and it seems that is what they need now days. As a professional musician for 50 years I found that many times my take on a concert was much different than the critic’s. Then there were times I agreed.
    So I wonder, and I guess we will see, with less critics, if that effects audience attendance. I guess we shall find out. I do miss an informed critique once in a while, but I would like them to be more encouraging to any potential audience, with a musical and literary lilt of their own.
    Pardon my limited use of English grammar.
    Just my 2c


  2. As a struggling freelance music critic, I found these articles thoughtful and thought-provoking. I’m sorry you’re not at The Register but am hopeful your new post will prove to be worthy of you.


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