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Classical 101

Allan Kozinn and The New York Times

It may have been quiet over Labor Day Weekend, but it hit the fan fiercely earlier today with the news that Allan Kozinn has been re-assigned to a diminished, and unfocused, status at The New York Times after years of writing authoritatively on culture and music for The Gray Lady. Alex Ross, himself a superb writer on music, said this morning: "Many of us in the music world, myself included, are baffled and saddened by this development. A petition calling for his reinstatement gathered hundreds of signatures overnight." (Here's the elephant in the room. The New York Times doesn't care about the views of those who sign this petition, MYself included. We are the old guard, we are dying off, and we don't spend megabucks on electronic toys, jewelry of real. Those are the driving forces of  Times advertising) Tim Page, a Pulitzer prize winner himself writes, "Allan Kozinn was one of the (very few) critics that other critics and musicians read, not merely for pleasure but for self-education." There are on-line petitions and outrage from many who appreciate reading the paper, in hand or online, because they want to learn. Is that a bad word today? If the print media is migrating to the web then there should be ample room for content, especially when writers like Mr. Kozinn have long ago proved their talent and efficacy. Allan Kozinn was the first to take The Beatles seriously in print. It was he who placed them in a historical perspective. A sweeping and entertaining knowledge of world music, popular culture, and the world's great concert halls and opera houses has been at Kozinn's fingertips for thirty years. So what gives? It's been suggested that Kozinn is out to make way for Zachary Woolfe. Zachary Woolfe is a phenomenal writer on music. I'm a fan. He's very young and very smart. Why can't there be room for both? Why discard the accumulated knowledge, contacts, and savvy that Kozinn brings to the table? Do a Google search. There's going be a lotta wailing and gnashing of teeth for a few days.  Good!

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.