When the Critics Circle started in 1913, it was launched by a group of theatre critics. But distinguished past presidents have included such well-known figures as Philip Hope-Wallace, William Mann, Andrew Porter, Charles Osborne and Rodney Milnes.
Our current chairman is Guy Dammann, who writes for The Guardian and Times Literary Supplement, and the Section secretary is Amanda Holloway.
The aims of the Music Section of the Critics’ Circle are, to quote the Circle’s rulebook: a) to promote the art of criticism and to uphold its integrity in practice; b) to foster and safeguard the professional interests of its members and to provide opportunities for social intercourse among them; and c) to support the advancement of the arts. Though the Circle is decidedly not a trade union, it tries to encourage best practice.
The music section from time to time has acted for its members in connection with scales of fees for programme notes and magazine articles. We have recently been concerned that some concert and opera promoters have been trying to force members to sell their copyright for fees that would previously have bought only “first serial rights”. Music critics tend to be among the least well paid in the Circle. They really need repeat fees for re-use of programme notes they have penned.
We meet to discuss and decide bread and butter matters three times a year for about 90 minutes maximum.
Occasionally we hold meetings where a leading performer or a concert-hall or opera manager will answer questions from members about their work. We also irregularly hold luncheons or dinners to celebrate the lifetime achievement of some very special artist, writer, composer or instrumentalist.
The music section has 76 members. It at present consists overwhelmingly of classical music and opera critics, though we welcome critics of other kinds of music (jazz, pop, and world music).
Nicholas Anderson, Tim Ashley, Edward Bhesania, Augustin Blanco-Bazin, Richard Bratby, Geoff Brown, Antony Bye, Hugh Canning, Rupert Christiansen, Michael Church, Keith Clarke, Alexandra Coghlan, Clare Colvin, Antonia Couling, Della Couling, Martin Cullingford, Kimon Daltas, Guy Dammann, Clive Davies, Chris de Souza, Jessica Duchen, Rian Evans, Richard Fairman, John Fallas, Neil Fisher, Ian Fox, Rebecca Franks, Professor Christopher Green, David Gutman, George Hall, Ivan Hewett, Amanda Holloway, Fiona Hook, James Inverne, Erica Jeal, Dr Lucien Jenkins, Stephen Johnson, Rick Jones, Graeme Kay, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Ashutosh Khandekar, Nick Kimberley, Alison Latham, Richard Lawrence, Robert Layton, Jonathan Lennie, Paul Levy, Fiona Maddocks, Barry Millington, Kate Molleson, Christopher Morley, Bryce Morrison, Richard Morrison, Owen Mortimer, Geoffrey Norris, Meredith Oakes, Richard Osborne, Matthew Peacock, Gerhard Persche, Stephen Pritchard, Mark Pullinger, Peter Reed, Tim Rutherford-Johnson, Matthew Rye, Edward Seckerson, Hugo Shirley, Geoffrey Smith, Harriet Smith, Tom Sutcliffe, Michael K Tanner, Robert Thicknesse, Warwick Thompson, Mark Valencia, Kenneth Walton, Nicholas Williams, Hans-Theodor Wohlfahrt.
Honorary members are:
David Cairns, David Gillard, Robert L Henderson, Adrian Jack, Max Loppert, David Mellor, Diana McVeagh, Stephen Pettitt, Stephen Walsh.
News & Reviews
Emergency exits Leos Janacek’s Kat’a Kabanova, premiered in Brno in 1921, is a brooding piece about adultery and death framed in a plot of older people tyrannising younger ones. Kat’a (normally rendered as Katya), sung by Amanda Majeski, and her husband Tikhon (Andrew...read more
Early promise "The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs" is what Shakespeare actually wrote in The Tempest with reference to the magical island of the play’s setting, although of course it was always taken as Britannia. Perhaps there will be a tariff to pay...read more
Destination unknown Tell it not in Gath – but Mozart’s Magic Flute is politically too incorrect in this #MeToo era. Among many cuts in Opera North’s new production, no animals get charmed by the magic of Tamino’s flute on his mission to rescue Pamina, and of course...read more
Family planning by Robert Thicknesse A lot of supporters of the London Philharmonic Orchestra couldn’t get into last February’s cycle opener (this is a pretty leisurely Ring, culminating in a full cycle in 2021) because of its “gala” billing and concomitantly ruinous...read more