I just got back from the 36th annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards, presented at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for excellence in writing about music. No, I didn’t win one, but I accepted a citation for special recognition on behalf of Doug McLennan, the creator of artsjournal.com, the invaluable Web site that hosts this blog. Here’s what I said:
Sometimes the greatest ideas are simple ideas that no one else has thought of. Doug McLennan had one: start a Web site that carries daily digests of, and links to, news stories and commentaries about the arts, drawn from newspapers and magazines all across the English-speaking world. Not only did he have that idea, he made it happen–and now artsjournal.com is an indispensable part of the morning routine of artists, administrators, and journalists everywhere.
This summer, Doug had another idea: invite arts writers, myself among them, to keep daily Web logs on Artsjournal. And that, too, has been a smashing success. Last week, my Artsjournal blog, “About Last Night,” received its one hundred thousandth page view.
I believe the future of arts journalism is on the Web. If I’m right, then Doug McLennan was present at the creation. I’m proud to be a part of his creation, and on his behalf I accept this award with gratitude–and hope.
We were in fast company. Other prizewinners included the authors of several books about which I have written enthusiastically here and elsewhere, among them Alfred Appel, Jr.’s Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce, Charles M. Joseph’s Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention,
Allen Shawn’s Arnold Schoenberg’s Journey, and Richard Sudhalter’s Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael.
At a time when serious writing about music is getting harder and harder to find in the major media, it’s heartening that ASCAP should pay tribute to books and writers like these–and, of course, to artsjournal.com, without which there would be no “About Last Night.” Bless them, and Doug, too.