Women Music Critics
June 11, 2005
Nancy mentioned the lack of women classical music critics. The National Arts Journalism Program (NAJP) at Columbia recently completed a large study of arts journalism in America. They found that "the average classical music critic is a white, 52-year-old male with a graduate degree, but twenty-six percent of all critics writing are female."
Without further analysis these numbers are misleading. The large US papers, which are the ones that influence public opinion, have virtually no women classical music critics. I can think of only two, Anne Midgette (NYT) and Wynne Delacoma (Chicago Sun-Times) though there might be others. (If anyone knows of other women classical music critics for major papers, please let us know.) Midgette is just a stringer for the Times and seldom covers anything but New York's smaller opera companies. And Wynne's voice does not carry as far as most of her male colleagues in similar positions. In my view, neither are especially notable as advocates for women in music.
Midgette, who began with the Times about four years ago, is the first woman to cover classical music in the entire history of the paper. Perhaps that's "news fit to print."
BTW, the NAJP program at Columbia was recently eliminated due to lack of funding. A big set back for the arts.