The demotion of Allan Kozinn from classical music critic to culture has attracted widespread condemnation in the few hours since it was first reported here. Tim Page, a Pulitzer winning critic and former Times contributor, now professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, sent the following message:
“This is an outrage! The NYT has sidetracked a brilliant all-around music critic who was also the single person who did more to teach Americans about historically informed baroque performance than anybody else. I love Tony Tommasini (who had nothing to do with this) and the NYT has some splendid stringers. Still, Tony aside, the most important paper in what is still probably America’s musical capital no longer has a staff classical music critic worthy of the name.”
The contemporary music site sequenza-21 is urging its committed readers to write to the editor of the Times, demanding Kozinn’s reinstatement. Its managing editor, Professor Christian Carey, writes: ‘[Kozinn] he is one of very few writers on contemporary classical music who has the knowledge and expertise to explain the inspiration for and intricacies of a wide variety of newer repertoire. ‘
Dozens more composers, journalists and colleagues have expressed their dismay privately, fearful of offending a powerful newspaper.
Kozinn himself posted the following dignified response on his Facebook page:
‘Well, since word about this seems to be out, I might as well repost it as well. I think officially, all I can say is that it’s been more than a privilege to write about music and musicians for the Times for the last 35 years. I’ve heard, seen and covered a few lifetimes worth of great and interesting music although there’s a great deal more I wanted to do – I’ve enjoyed watching the new music world really catch fire in recent years – I’ll obviously continue to keep tabs on it through Steve Smith‘s work, not to mention directly, where possible while I’m doing whatever it is I’ll be doing instead.’
A statement is expected Tuesday from the discredited culture department of the New York Times.
Meantime, here’s what’s happening to music critics in the UK.