- Wednesday keynote, Anthony Tomassini, NY Times
- Thursday panel, Introduction to Classical Music Criticism (Tim Page, Anne Midgette, Alex Ross, John Rockwell, Heidi Waleson, Stephen Rubin)
I think for every critic who wanders into music criticism from another field, there is at least one with a music degree. In high school, I thought I would grow up to be a full-time critic. Robert Commanday was a flutist and chorus director before he became a music writer. Joshua Kosman has undergraduate and graduate degrees in music. Anthony Tommasini was a pianist and piano teacher, and I believe so was Bernard Holland before him. Alex Ross may not have majored in music, but it's clear that he took music classes in college. It is important to have technical knowledge of music if you're going to write about it, but you don't have to be a music major to acquire that knowledge.
As far as Gil French's question goes, okay, maybe they're not training writers for jobs that don't exist. There is still a shortage of outlets that pay, not to mention paying well, for classical music criticism and journalism. I am a very, very part-time writer, and I have never made more than $3,000/year for my music writing. I told Andy Doe earlier this year that I thought that with some effort I could probably make $25,000 - $30,000/year working half- to full-time. That would be fine as additional income after I stop working full time, but I am a technical writer and get paid more than that.
I am not sure what to say just now about Anthony Tommasini's keynote other than to mention that if you heard a loud noise last night, it was me banging my head against the wall as I read Kalimac's write-up.