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‘I was victim of an oboe hate mob’

June 30, 2016 by norman lebrecht

152 comments.


A disturbing report by Wai Kit Leung (see here for background story):

I started reviewing CDs and DVDs for MusicWeb International, a UK-based classical music review site, in February this year. Shortly after I started, I was assigned to review, among other discs, the debut album of American oboist Katherine Needleman on Genuin. Being an oboist, I was aware of the potential pitfall of passing judgement on a fellow oboist. A quick search on Amazon.com revealed that this disc had garnered an unusually high number of  positive reviews (all 5-out- of-5) within days of its launch.

With that knowledge, I thought it would be safe for me to proceed.

The disc turned out to be a disappointment to me. Being a conscious reviewer and told by my team that I should be honest with my opinion, good or bad; I wrote a somewhat critical review of the album, detailing what I liked and what I didn’t like. Bearing in mind the number of 5-star reviews the album had earned on the US Amazon site, I wanted to be inclusive of those listeners’ opinions, and added a sentence at the end: “Get this album if you want David Ludwig’s Pleiades or if you are a fan of the American style of oboe playing”.

I had qualms about writing a less-than- stellar review, but the Editor-in- Chief vetted it and had it posted on MusicWeb. Later I showed the review to at least eight other reviewers from MusicWeb, as well as to Len Mullenger, MusicWeb’s Founder. All of them told me my review was fine. Mr. Mullenger told me he “cannot really see anything he thinks needs changing”. Genuin must have endorsed the review as well as they quoted it on the official product page.

 

Oboe_duos_GEN16407

Ms. Needleman, however, took offence at my review. She hunted me down on Facebook, and repeatedly tried to drag me into dog fights with her and her fans/friends. When I refused, she proceeded to broadcast misleading and inflaming messages (“ … So not only does he insult me, which I find rather amusing in this case, but in his quite amazing review, he insults an entire nation or perhaps continent of oboe players as well.…”) to multiple Facebook groups, including the “Oboists of the World” group and the official Facebook page of the International Double Reed Society, with a combined membership of over 10,000. She also broadcast my private company info in her posts.

Within minutes I got insults, abuses and threats from dozens of Ms. Needleman’s fans and friends. They dug up my photos and company info and posted them on thread, threatened to boycott my company and asked others to do so as well.  “Atlantic Woodwindrepair” (bassoonist Rick Shepard) posted that he had sent emails to MusicWeb’s Editor-in- Chief and Founder, asking for my dismissal, and asked others to do the same.

The following day, Len Mullenger told me MusicWeb “cannot cope with the distraction of dealing with numerous incoming e-mails from myself, the artists and artist’s friends”, and dismissed me. This is the same person who reassured me a day earlier that he didn’t see anything wrong with my review. He also made several allegations against me, none of which I had heard from anyone from MusicWeb before, and to me clearly remarks Ms. Needleman and her fans/friends made in their email campaign.

The attacks on Facebook continued for another week. Several people, most importantly Robert von Bahr of BIS Records, joined the debate and pointed out to the crowd that it was my duty and right as a reviewer to write my review, and that the crowd’s and Ms. Needleman’s behaviour was undignified. However, the mob continued their abuse. Most of these posters had not even heard the album, but that didn’t stop them from insulting me. Very few actually debated the points I made in the review. Interestingly, when a few passers-by saw enough, jumped in and reprimanded the mob, the mob declared the situation “out of control” and closed the thread within minutes.

In reality, it had been out of control for over a week. Several members of the gang were practically vicious. Sylvain Gnemmi, a French oboist playing with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, repeatedly used vulgar language to attack me, and posted my personal photos and company info on the thread, even made up stories about my company. Multiple people had asked him to stop, but he refused, claiming that was his freedom of expression; Dimitrios Karaminstzas, Artistic Director at Klassik in Moabit in Germany, posted a few replies that were particularly threatening; Tamber King, an oboist from the US, repeatedly hurled personal insults at me (accusing me of having mental problems) as well as at other people who didn’t share her viewpoints. And then there was bassoonist and repairman Rick Shepard, owner of Atlantic Woodwindrepair, who campaigned for my dismissal.

This mob had no respect for freedom of speech, and more crucially, press freedom. Ms. Needleman, who started what a bystander aptly called “a witch hunt”, made no effort whatsoever on reigning in her supporters, even though she was monitoring the threads closely. It appeared to me an orchestrated move to smear, discredit, intimidate and destroy a critic who didn’t sing her praises unreservedly.

I never expected such a blatant violation of press freedom in the Western world. Artists’ reputation should be built on artistry, not manipulation or intimidation. Perhaps these people thought that if they showed their collective power, no other critics would dare to write anything less-than-stellar about their favourite players.

 


Comments (152)

  1. Doug says:

    This comes as no surprise given the current level of what passes for ‘political discourse’ these days. Just look at the university campus. Instead of allowing others with differing opinion the opportunity to speak and offering calm, civilized debate in response, you get protesting, shouting of profranties and outright childish behaviour. All you have to do is look closely at what was preached by Saul Alinsky on how to approach political discourse and those in prsent leadership roles who have adopted his tactics.

    1. John says:

      An embarrassing affair. The review might have been picky, but it is Miss Needleman who comes off badly. How dare she sanction this hounding of a reviewer?

      1. Frank says:

        Is she sanctioning the hounding of the reviewer? Where is the hounding?

        1. John says:

          The hounding took place on the Facebook posts Miss Needleman created. She has said absolutely nothing to criticise the hounding, either at the time or now. He reputation could have been intact had she asked for calm.

        2. Oh Yeah says:

          Reading comprehension, my dear boy. It’s a wonderful thing. Try it some time!

    2. John says:

      Miss Needleman has spoken a lot on these threads, but has not addressed any of the concerns about her behaviour. It is not too late for her to do so.

      1) Why did Needleman create posts aimed at Mr Leung across multiple Facebook groups?
      2) Why did Needleman include Leung’s personal information in these posts?
      3) Does Needleman recognise that her posts resulted in harassment from others?
      4) Does Needleman condemn this harassment?
      5) Has Needleman apologised to Mr Leung?
      6) How can Needleman reassure us that she is able to take criticism, even if she finds it unfair or picky?

      1. Frank says:

        Seems to me, looking on Facebook, that she shared the review with a little innocuous commentary. I don’t see any harassment that follows. Was it in the deleted stuff? Seems like Mr. Leung has done a lot of lying. I wonder if any of this stuff was truly harassment. She lists his name and professional affiliation when sharing the review. Is that what you mean by personal information? Seems standard when talking about someone’s work. He did the same for her.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          The two most virulent threads were deleted.

      2. Dimitri says:

        Her silence on this has told us what she thinks I guess

    3. Sarah says:

      This incident has bleep-all to do about Saul Alinsky. Redirecting and false equivalencies are only two of the egregious “techniques” used in political “discussion” today. If you really want to see what’s out there, read the comments on Amazon for any book with a thesis to the left of Attila the Hun’s leanings. Or try Faux News – it puts any “campus” issues to shame.

  2. Rodrigo says:

    Mozart in the Jungle backlash. This is what happens when you make a successful series about an oboist.

    Of course the disc was top rated on Amazon. That’s Mozart in the Jungle territory. Oboists and oboe lovers have realized the power of their positive feedback on Amazon after MITJ was catapulted to fame with help from positive Amazon reviews.

    It would be great to get Blair Tindall’s take on this situation.

    1. blair tindall says:

      No comment! 🙂

    2. Lyndon Moors says:

      Says Rodrigo, no less.

  3. Catherine says:

    Ms. Needleman- should change her name to the Ms. Needlewoman. Poking her needle in people in the hopes of making herself feel better.

    1. Couperin says:

      This is not coming from Ms. Needleman. This is coming from the oboe community rallying on her behalf. And they are right. New oboe cds are too few and far between. Oboists with integrity support each other.

      This “Wai Kit Leung” who claims to be an oboist, but whose actual cv says omnipotently “master of double reed instruments” crossed the line with such backbiting criticism of a colleague. He/she should change their name to “Why Cattily?”

      1. Wai Kit Leung says:

        It was Ms. Needleman who posted inflaming posts in multiple groups on Facebook to start with. No one else had even read the review.

        1. Couperin says:

          Why were you so nitpicky in your review? Why did you criticize a colleague so harshly? Did you think it would make you appear more knowledgeable?

          From Ms. Needleman’s description it sounds like she simply posted the review on the IDRS facebook page. Nothing inflammatory, only “amused” she says. Did you really clock her performance with a metronome and include that in your review? I’m sorry but that’s really bizarre.

          The IDRS page is read by over 6000 people who respond quickly and frankly to all posts. I am not even an oboist and I would question a reviewer quoting a metronome reference and criticizing fingering choices in a cd review. It’s nothing that Ms. Needleman said, it’s the content of your review which is inflammatory. It sounds like the IDRS readers simply reacted to what YOU wrote.

          Ms. Needleman is a fellow oboist. Someone who invested time and energy and love in this cd project. She’s Principal Oboe of a well known US orch. It’s not even one of the “Big 5” US orchs which makes it even more unfathomable why you would want to cut her down to size. I don’t know you, I don’t know her, but I am a prof. orch. player myself and what you did has no integrity whatsoever.

          And of course that guy from BIS agrees with you. Everyone knows what a conflictive old grouch he is. Unless she recorded it on his label he has every reason to take your side.

          1. Wai Kit Leung says:

            Ms. Needleman wrote “… So not only does he insult me, which I find rather amusing in this case, but in his quite amazing review, he insults an entire nation or perhaps continent of oboe players as well.…”. Is that not inflaming?

            The tempi on the album were very sluggish. I merely quantified it. If I said it fell slow, it would be a mere opinion. 33% under tempo is a lot. I could feel it. Most of the others who heard the album felt it too. It was the duty of the reviewer to point that out.

          2. Robert von Bahr says:

            @Couperin:

            are you actually saying that I would agree with Mr. Leung’s negative review just because Ms. Needleman didn’t record for BIS? What an extraordinary conclusion!! I can’t care less about that CD, but what I DO care about is that the review and its author got drawn and quartered, when all he did was to say that he didn’t like all of the CD, AND had the professionality and courtesy (sic!) to substantiate (in gruesome detail) why he didn’t. That’s reviewing for you.

            I don’t usually take part in debates of this kind – as a record producer the downside is too big (as evidenced here by Couperin’s asinine comment), but the lynch mob went far too far in order to destroy not only the review, but the reviewer as well.

            Robert von Bahr – that guy from BIS.

      2. Wai Kit Leung says:

        As a reviewer of integrity I needed to tell the truth. I guess to be an “oboist with integrity” one has to suppress the truth? I didn’t go out of my way to write the review. The record company WANTED a review from MusicWeb. Once I had received the disc, I had no option but to write the review (at least that’s what I thought at the time. Turned out I could have sent the CD back to the UK out of my own pocket if I wanted to get out of it).

        1. Couperin says:

          If I’d been in your situation, I’d have thought twice about the consequences of writing such a review. A review can be truthful and not be so petty and destructive as yours apparently was. I would hope that that’s a skill of a good reviewer.

          Clocking a player with a metronome on a cd review is not “integrity”, it’s just plain being petty. .

          Instrumentalists invariably support other players who venture out with solo cds like this. It’s brave and worthwhile and not all of us have the courage to do it. The double reed lobby, with the enormous and well-organized IDRS is not a group any reviewer would want to tangle with. Understandably they are going to support any member who comes forth with a project like this cd. It advances the cause of the instrument. It’s a positive for all oboists and they are going to defend their instrument. Katherine Needleman is highly
          respected member of this group.

          The rule that most prof. musicians who’ve been around a while use is “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” If you truly couldn’t find anything positive or supportive to say about this cd and had to resort to discussing such silliness as metronomes and fingering choices then yes, you should have send the cd back to the UK without reviewing it.

          A good reviewer should be able to read between the lines as far as how far to take truth and honesty in a review. We live in a digital age. Anything you write is going to be seen by the artist. If that artist, as in this case, is a member of a worldwide organization of like instrumentalists like the IDRS who already feel they’re regarded as underdogs and “nerds” in the music industry, you face the ramifications of offending that entire group.

          Part of your job as a reviewer is to be aware of all of this. Not just writing whatever you
          please, but to be aware of the artistic context as well.

          You decide: truth and honesty on your terms or a bit of diplomacy when writing your reviews. Or abstaining from writing the review altogether. Here’s hoping for a wiser choice next time. . . .

          1. Wai Kit Leung says:

            Well, I don’t have a choice anymore. The mob has shut me down.

            Obviously someone more skilful/diplomatic could have averted this situation. I wonder: since this was one of the first few reviews I ever wrote for this site, should the Editor-in-Chief share some blame too? After all, he reviewed and edited my review before it went online. And as I have said before, a total of no less than 10 people from MusicWeb, including the Founder and the Editor-in-Chief, told me there was nothing wrong with my review. Perhaps a difference in culture across the Atlantic?

          2. Couperin says:

            Absolutely the company you work for should take more blame and give you a new assignment. If you are new and they approved the review, you were just doing your job. They, with more experience than you, should have been aware of the ramifications.

            Giving you an oboe cd to review as one of your 1st assigments is pretty thankless. The main people reading it will be other oboists. Now you understand that.

            You’ve learned. Let this die down and ask them for another chance. Hopefully not another solo cd. Point out that you’ve put them on the map. No one had heard of Music Web until now. To be featured in Slipped Disc & written up by classical music expert & author Norman Lebrecht, be it for better or for worse, is tremendous publicity for you and for them. Take a look at Mr. Lebrecht’s own career and how many storms he’s weathered.

            Sounds like you’re just starting out, you’re on the other side of the world from Katherine Needleman and from London, and you made an honest mistake. I believe you see now what went wrong here. Use it as a stepping stone to be a better, wiser, reviewer. And take inspiration from Mr. Lebrecht himself who’s also seen his share of conflict on the road to success. Wishing you wisdom and courage and perserverance!

          3. Emil Archambault says:

            I think that is exactly the issue at point. No lobby whatsoever should have a say in what gets published – that is called censorship, and it does not matter whether it is done through official means or through intimidation. Also, as a review reader, i read reviews to find content about the CD – not artists patting each other in the back. Recording a CD means going out in the public and accepting to be reviewed.

          4. Cyril Blair says:

            “The rule that most prof. musicians who’ve been around a while use is “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

            Really? Even if the CD (any CD, not this one in particular) had been horrible?

            If everything a reviewer says has to be glowing and positive in order not to hurt the performer’s feelings, we are in a world of hurt. Maybe performers want to live in a world like that, but consumers of art need honest critiques.

          5. Homer Shakestoy says:

            Is Le Grande Couperin writing parody here? This is not a merely rhetorical question.

          6. Wai Kit Leung says:

            Couperin is just one of the many alter egos of somebody …

        2. Steven Holloway says:

          Regrettably, you are a reviewer with little experience. Your general readers could not possibly follow the minutiae of different schools of oboe-playing, which makes your manner of writing naive. You are, really, using what is called a closed vocabulary, aka jargon. And you are, instead of yourself taking the varying techniques of different schools into account and accepting them on their own terms, giving a music lesson and a plug for a different school. I don’t find what you did at all reprehensible and I don’t think you deserve to be fired. In fact, parts of your review made me chuckle. But I do think you need to learn from this.

          1. Wai Kit Leung says:

            I mostly wrote about abrupt changes in tempi and departure from the printed scores. I didn’t realize that was plugging for a particular school of oboe playing or getting into jargons. Perhaps I was naive indeed.

      3. Emil Archambault says:

        Deary me. A review that actually reviewed the playing. But sure, oboists should be cheerleaders for each other and pretend everyone is wonderful, regardless of the actual playing.

        1. Conical bore says:

          It’s not a level playing field. It’s a review of an American style oboist by a reviewer who prefers the European style. He makes this clear thruout the review.

          1. Bruce says:

            In other words, he makes clear his preference, and then proceeds to review the CD fairly through the lens of his preferences (or bias, if you prefer). As readers, we can then come our own conclusions about whether we would like the CD.

            I don’t think a reviewer is obligated to like a recording, but only to give a clear description of it.

            Think of it like this: if you pay attention to politics, and you read an article giving a detailed description and critique of Donald Trump’s policies and positions, and the author says at the end, “This is what Donald Trump would do to the US. Go ahead and vote for him if you like that kind of thing.” A conservative reader could say “well, the author has made it clear he’s a liberal. I disagree with his opinion, but based on his description I’ve decided to vote for Trump.” (Or they could say “He doesn’t like Trump! He’s an idiot!” and write to the newspaper asking to have him fired. Whichever.)

            That’s the kind of thing I saw when I read this review. Mr. Leung made his preferences clear, and gave objective information about tempi & fingerings to back up his subjective opinions. Someone could easily read his description of the first Schumann Romance and think “this idiot says she pays no attention to rhythm, but it sounds to me like it’s a chance to hear someone take a truly Romantic approach to this piece versus all the oboe-playing machines who play it rigidly, like an etude.” (Or they could decide that the reviewer is unfair, and write to the editor asking for his termination. Whichever.)

        2. Bruce says:

          I won’t bother to try to rephrase Chesterton’s quotation to fit this situation — it’s easy enough to see how it applies.

          “‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”

          (from http://www.chesterton.org/my-country-right-or-wrong/ )

  4. Katherine Needleman says:

    I have contacted Mr. Mullenger about his quote here just now, because it is simply not true. I celebrate freedom of the press, and never called for the firing of Wai Kit Leung, nor do I know of any of my friends or anyone else who did, as he claims. I frequently share my reviews on my Facebook page, whether they are positive or negative. This review was particularly interesting and amusing to me, as I had never seen one like it before. I do not know of any reviewers who would speak of fingerings, clock a performance with a metronome, or complain about a fingering choice of the performer. I believe it took off on the IDRS Facebook page because many oboists were incensed that one oboist would write such a review about a colleague. We are normally a pretty supportive and lovely community. The IDRS Facebook page administrator deleted the thread mentioned here, and I wish I had saved it, as it spoke for itself.

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Oh really, Ms. Needleman. One of your fans posted on the thread you started on the IDRS Facebook page that he had emailed MusicWeb to ask for my dismissal, and asked others to do the same. Have you forgotten about him so quickly?

      1. Shut Down Lynch Mobs says:

        Why don’t you sue her for defamation? You are reviewer and clearly know about oboe playing. Thus, you are an expert in your field. It seems she made claims about you that are false and questioned your competence as an expert. This is per se defamation. You do not even have to prove harm under this scenario, though losing your job is a clear harm. If you have the proof of what was in her Facebook posts, perhaps you can find them archived somewhere, I think you have a clear case of defamation that would likely result in a positive outcome in court. However, Needleman would probably want to settle instead of going to the discovery stage, if the case makes it passed the motion to dismiss, which is almost certainly would.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Thank you for your support. Unfortunately for me, Katherine Needleman’s acquaintances at the IDRS have destroyed the Facebook log. This is the email I received from them when I approached them last June:

          “Following your previous email, I asked Yoshi Ishikawa to review the postings in the IDRS Facebook page and to advise me on the content of the postings associated with this situation. After reviewing the posts, we removed them from the IDRS FB page. I believe that this ends the IDRS’s connection to the situation. Let me know if you have any questions concerning this action. Best,
          kws
          Keith Sweger
          President, International Double Reed Society”

  5. harold braun says:

    First of all,I just heard the Album,an oboist friend of mine has it,and we enjoyed it very much…I find the review very patronizing and,like many rewievs,a bit self indulgent…Tempi….well that’s a moot point always…same with conductors.But what i really didn’t like was the style of the review,quite patronizing and opinionated,for my taste…and that might have ruffled some feathers…

  6. Alex says:

    Luckily, I am here to provide arbitration to this petty dispute. Here is my judgement.

    1. The review is a bit too detailed and nit-picky. Nobody cares at such a microscopic level.

    2. Katherine Needleman and her posse of reed knife-wielding thugs need to chill out, get some perspective, and take this review for what it’s worth (which is essentially nothing).

    You’re welcome. Next case.

    1. Greg from SF says:

      “…posse of reed-knife wielding thugs…” – love it!

  7. Rodrigo says:

    OK. I also finally found the review. The writing is OK and it makes some interesting points, but yes, I agree, it’s nitpicky. The tone is very patronizing, and the last statement is borderline nasty. Tongue not even in cheek nasty. How to insult an entire continent of oboists indeed. No wonder people reacted as they did!

    http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2016/Apr/Oboe_duos_GEN16407.htm

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Rodrigo

      I think you missed what I wrote in my letter. Here are the relevant bits:

      Bearing in mind the number of 5-star reviews the album had earned on the US Amazon site, I wanted to be inclusive of those listeners’ opinions, and added a sentence at the end: “Get this album if you want David Ludwig’s Pleiades or if you are a fan of the American style of oboe playing”.

      1. Rodrigo says:

        It’s a really condescending comment. If you want to hear this piece by the personal friend of the artist then buy the cd. Or if you happen to like the American school of oboe playing which you make sound like a mutant minority whose only importance is that they wrote favorable reviews of this cd on Amazon. Come on.

        Do you have any idea how annoying the European oboe style is to non-Europeans? Are you aware that the Strauss oboe concerto exists because of an American oboist?

        Why would people not want to buy the cd to hear Schumann?

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Regarding the Schumann, I have outlined what I thought about the performance. For listeners who prefer the American style, John Mack’s recording offers a much more cogent and much less affected performance (that’s the opinion of one of my adult student as well as myself).

          I live in Hong Kong, which is outside Europe. All of my non-oboist musical friends here prefer the European style. A professor in conducting here in Hong Kong, who studied in the US, gingerly told me he preferred the European style. When I was at a well-known summer music camp in North American, the bassoon teacher confided to me he didn’t like the American style of oboe playing. He didn’t dare to speak up. Most people don’t, for the obvious reason.

          I am very familiar with the provenance of the Strauss concerto. Did you know Strauss never heard de Lancie play? He thought he was an oboist from Chicago. Credit to de Lancie for suggesting to Strauss he should write an oboe concerto, but it wasn’t his playing who inspired Strauss. I am just stating the facts, not passing judgement on de Lancie’s playing.

          What exactly do you consider part of the American school of playing? My main issues with this album is the rhythm and the pulse. I don’t believe every oboist in the US play like that. John Mack for one didn’t on his Schumann album.

          If you read my review, you will realise apart from complaining about a lack of a genuine ff, I did not criticize Ms. Needleman’s tone. In fact I praised it, calling her soft playing exquisite. I am not sure why my review is perceived as an attack on the American school. And this is the only album with Mr. Ludwig’s piece. Anyone who wants to listen to that must buy the CD. That’s what I meant.

          1. Rodrigo says:

            You’ve just admitted your personal bias! And how amazing that you have the idea that everyone secretly agrees with you about American vs. European styles! And with such flimsy substantiations. One summer at US music camp one person confided to you a preference. A professor you know in Hong Kong who studied in the US expressed a preference. I’m afraid you are very far removed from reality on this.

            John Mack died 10 yrs. ago. He was hardly the last American oboist of note to play the Schumann well. To your knowledge perhaps.

            Quite frankly it doesn’t matter if Strauss heard de Lancie play. The piece was dedicated to him.& as I recall he was the 1st to record it. The interpretation of reference will always be of the American style. And de Lancie was a student of Marcel Tabuteau anyway so there you go for turning up your nose at the American style.

            I know nothing about you but I’d guess from your rightiousness that you’re a Millennial, a Gen Y. Probably born 1980-1990, finished your formal education and now you know everything. Nothing personal, but this is a great example of why the rest of the world has so much trouble with your age group.

          2. Wai Kit Leung says:

            Rodrigo

            I never said everyone secretly disliked the American school. You claimed that non-Europeans find the European school annoying, and I only provided my personal experience that proved the contrary.

            de Lancie was not the first one to record it. You can check if my facts are right: he recorded it 10 years after his retirement from the orchestra, in 1987, on RCA. He gave a lot of his solo lines to the clarinet. I am not sure if that would serve as a reference to oboists? I certainly haven’t heard it play by others like that.

            You like to jump to unfounded conclusions which only weaken your arguments. I for one never guess at people’s age. And how did I turn up my nose at American oboists? Would you mind sharing with readers here whether you are an American oboist? That puts your arguments in perspective.

          3. Gerhard says:

            To Rodrigo: just for the record, the dedication of the Strauss Oboe Concerto reads “Meinem Freunde Dr. Volkmar Andreae und dem Tonhalleorchester in Zürich gewidmet”.

          4. Gerhard says:

            To Rodrigo once more: you write about Strauss’ concerto “The interpretation of reference will always be of the American style.” In view of the many obvious similarities of its musical idiom to his operas, in particular Ariadne, Arabella, and Rosenkavalier, this is a very bold claim. After all, Strauss was a very successful conductor, but he conducted operas more in Munich, Dresden, and Vienna than anywhere else. I don’t know how many opportunities he ever may have had to experience the American school of oboe playing, but it can’t have been that many, if any at all. To claim nevertheless that this is the style he had in mind when he wrote his concerto lacks every plausibility.

        2. MacroV says:

          Commenting on your bit below: John deLancie was not the first oboist to record the Strauss concerto. He didn’t record it until after he had retired from the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in fact the U.S. premiere was played by…Mitch Miller!

          1. Rodrigo says:

            I am not an American oboist. I am not even an oboist. I have no idea why I am even drawn to this conversation except. that your comments infuriate me.

            I am a non European working in Europe and I have to deal with European oboe playing on a daily basis. I was trained in the US, I am accustomed to the US oboe sound/style and it is a really annoying transition.

            I have worked with several of the European oboists you’ve mentioned so I have a pretty good perspective.

            I have heard Katherine Needleman play in her orchestra and I think she’s terrific.

        3. Bruce says:

          It’s a really condescending comment. If you want to hear this piece by the personal friend of the artist then buy the cd.

          Brahms was a personal friend of Joachim. If you want to hear the concerto he wrote for his friend, then feel free to buy the CD.

      2. Ilio says:

        Why should the comments in Amazon have anything to do with your review. It doesn’t matter what’s said on Amazon and you should not consider it in YOUR review.

        That said, remember that if it can be perceived as negativity, it can be harmful to an artist’s reputation and potential sales. Remember the saying “if you can’t say anything nice about something, don’t say it”. Your back handed condescending comment at end was uncalled for.

        Know your audience. MusicWeb is not a specialist woodwind site. Most of their readers wouldn’t give a hoot about fingering and if the artist was playing a Loree or Buffet instrument. Good reviewers get around these technical issues and are able to describe in non technical terms the pluses and minuses. When you resort to comments on things like fingering & metronome timings, it comes across as you are know it all and are not humble. As a reader I find that most timing and technical issues tell me nothing about the performance. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you perform point A to point B, but what you say in between that matters.

        I take it English is not your first language, because the writing comes across as arrogant/harsh as Chinese writers are sometimes perceived. This something my Chinese friends have mentioned in the past. Before writing reviews, you should look at OLD Gramophone, High Fidelity, ARG, and Record Geijutsu issues to see how good reviewers get their points across without sounding petty.

        Musicwebs editor obviously did you a disservice by not doing a better job of editing & critiquing you. But bitching about him will win you no friends. You may not get any further reviewing gigs by complaining about it publicly like you’ve done here.

        Finally, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Reading most negative comments only serve to get you upset and a lot of reviewers I know will not read them. If you think the comments are bad, you should try writing for a tech/gaming website, you should see the racist, misogynist, name calling that goes on there.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Thanks for your comments. I don’t get upset reading comments here. I got through a vicious attack by close to 100 people while my MusicWeb team ditched me unceremoniously in the middle of it. These are nothing compared to that.

          I do not want to debate my points over and over again, except that I was not bitching about the editing job the Editor or the Founder do. The fact that they told me the review was ok and nothing needed to be changed, and dismissed me LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER as a result of the mob emailing them asking for my head, is reprehensible. They had multiple opportunities to set things right after hat, and choose not to. That deserves to be called out.

        2. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Not looking for a fight, just want to put things in perspective: are you an American and/or an oboist?

          1. Ilio says:

            I’m a lapsed American Brass player.

          2. Lohengrin says:

            So maybe now you are getting the picture. You’ve asked a couple of readers if they are American oboists and they are not. This is not a bunch of American oboists or even
            friends of the artist in question ganging up on you. Most of us don’t even know her. We just don’t like your review.

            There are actually very few oboists in this “hate mob” and not all are Americans. In this forum in particular, we are mostly older, wiser musicians or readers with a wide knowledge and interest in music. We read lots of reviews, we have a good general idea of music and most important we are experienced enough at life to know that your review was questionable.

            Someone mentioned your age. It’s actually quite relevant here. You are a youngster. You haven’t learned tact or diplomacy and you are determined to prove you’re right. Qualities Millennials are famous for. You are dealing with a mob of angry Baby Boomers here. Washington Post has just called us the “Zombie Invasion”. Your generation has been called much worse. Respect.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/06/29/baby-boomers-are-the-zombie-invasion-weve-feared/

  8. Tombeau de Couperin says:

    See more here from the other side:

    https://www.facebook.com/KatherineNeedlemanOboist/

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      I just visited the link Tombeau de Couperin provided. I see that Ms. Needleman has posted the following:

      ” … He has made numerous references to the “American mafia” and our substandard oboe playing in other places on the internet…”

      While I have called the mob on Facebook “mafia mob” countless times, I don’t recall every saying “American mafia”. Also, I don’t think I have ever made references to “substandard oboe playing” anywhere. Somehow Ms. Needleman seems to have found multiple instances of those. If someone could locate those references, it will be appreciated.

      There are other untruths told, but I do not want to argue about every single one of them. All the slendering is getting tiresome. The truth will speak for itself.

  9. Delphine1962 says:

    Well, having read your review, I don’t trust your judgement, because I don’t think you have – at least in your role of reviewer – an evolved view of what constitutes musicianship ( not “musicality”). This must be is why you seem to think that getting your metronome out and recommending spurious technical advice in print is all about giving an informed review.
    By all means, do that at home, and then try to translate into something more generallly expressive, but don’t, just don’t do it in a review.

    The fact that you then seek to defend yourself by quoting your own adjectives (“exquisite”, “outstanding”) without explaining to me why, only seems to compound your amateurism.

    You may already be aware that there exists a basic maxim in appraising a performance from an examiner’s perspective, and basically that is: don’t teach; appraise what you hear, and use appropriate and carefully thought-out language to do so ( you may be interested in searching generic assessment criteria for this).

    For a reviewer of a recording, which is – on a specialist level, further removed, you should be aware (although you don’t seem yet to have learned this ) that you need to address a musically informed audience who generally have even less desire to hear a reviewer show off, and have absolutely zero interest in finding out – at second remove – whether a breathing/fingering/bowing/tongueing/striking/plucking etc choice has been adopted or not. I would suggest that you do something very straighforward and interesting, which is to start reading as many reviews as you can, from every medium, but from every source, and star to learn that there is a craft there.

    I am sorry to say that – on the basis of your review and the defence you have so far put up for it – you are currently completely unsuited to that role and you most certainly should not have been given the position of reviewing on behalf of any professional organisation without appropriate training – and I hope your editor is reading this. For you to consider that you have been any sort of victim demonstrates your lack of understanding about your own brief and the quality of the musicians you have been given responsibility for appraising. As it is, you have caused damage.

    I believe in reviewers and the art of good criticism and I have never subscribed to the view that a bad review should just be ignored – no senstive artist will ever do that- they may say they do, but they don’t.

    By the same token, a really well-informed, constructive review, which shows knowledge without drawing attention to it – is one of the most valuable things from which an artist can learn. I would encourage you to learn from this reaction from the professional community – they need good reviewers, and I swear that if you can arrive at a nuanced, constructive and even critical appraisal, you will be thanked for it, and not castigated.

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      If I were to write in a more Norma style it would have looked something like this. I am sure the mob would still have castigated me, all the same:

      ” …The tempi are plodding throughout and are much slower than Poulenc’s markings. Extreme licence was taken with regard to some of the rhythms, which results in a disjointed and highly affected performance …”

      Would that have been better? Certainly would have been much easier and faster for me to write. I spend well over 10 hours on this review, listening to the album 7-8 times, in order not to make misjudged critical remarks.

    2. Wai Kit Leung says:

      If you want to find out how I used my adjectives, you are welcome to read my review, which is one or at most two clicks away. My original reply wasn’t even addressed to you. I am typing from a phone and am unable to copy a large chunk of text back and forth. Your complaint seems frivolous.

      1. Delphine1962 says:

        I’m replying to both of yours. I think that the fact you are engaging so sincerely to the comments put forward, show very much to me that you CARE about the review and the criticism you have you received. I think that is extremely revealing (in a positive way) about your attitude and ambitions as a genuinely learned and balanced reviewer. I hope you have the services of good editorial guidance in the near future.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Yes it is past 4am local time here, I haven’t gone to bed. I stand for justice and don’t like people disparaging my work. I spent 10+ hours reviewing a disc that I personally found very much subpar just to make sure I wasn’t doing it injustice. To dismiss me (literally and figuratively) is really the ultimate injustice.

        2. MacroV says:

          Mr. Leung.

          My advice: Don’t listen to these small-minded, pretentious twits. I don’t necessarily agree with everything you wrote and you probably devoted more words to that CD than it deserved, but there was nothing seriously out of order with your review and no lessons that you need to learn other than that oboe players appear to be a rather thin-skinned and humourless bunch, which having played with my share over the years, comes as no surprise. I rather liked the part about the forked-F fingering; it shows you have some understanding of oboe technique.

          Next time just review a bassoon (or euphonium) recording; they’ll appreciate the attention.

          1. Wai Kit Leung says:

            Thanks for your kind words. I do play and teach bassoon also, and actually have written more bassoon reviews than oboe reviews. Please feel free to read them on MusicWeb, in case they decide to take down everything I wrote!

          2. Wai Kit Leung says:

            I can’t review CDs anymore. MusicWeb have sacked me over this. I no longer get evaluation discs.

          3. Catherine says:

            Well said!

  10. MacroV says:

    Wow. I’d be tempted to buy the CD to hear what all the fuss is about, but I don’t want to validate the old saw about there being no such thing as bad publicity.

    Nonetheless, methinks you all doth protest too much. Some people have clearly never read Fanfare, if they’re complaining about Mr. Leung’s discussion of metronome markings; reviewers there regularly nit-picked all sorts of things, the least pedantic being comparison of running times of pieces/movements, which is basically the same thing. I don’t find anything objectionable in this review; Ms. Needleman and her fans (of whom I am decidedly not one after seeing how they got bent out of shape over this fairly innocuous review) really need to chill as to actually have taken offense here.

    I’ve never heard anything more ridiculous than the IDRS as a big, happy family, or oboe players so mutually supportive. The oboe world (the American one, anyway) was long rife with factions – followers of John Mack, say, who would probably have been waterboarded before they’d have said anything nice about Ray Still. And most of them sticking up their noses at the sound of Heinz Holliger.

    Perhaps Ms. Needleman and her fans are marketing geniuses, getting lots of attention (at least among the Slipped Disc crowd) for a CD that, however fine it may be, was unlikely to draw many headlines.

  11. Katherine Needleman says:

    We did not say that. Because his activities on Facebook had brought MusicWeb into disrepute I put him on probation and asked him to complete the reviews of the outstanding discs he still held and I would then review the matter. As you know we have not removed the review. It would seem he refused to accept this probation as I have not received those reviews.
    Regards
    Len
    —————————————————
    Len Mullenger
    Founder of MusicWeb International
    http://www.musicweb-international.com
    mobile 07913 999009
    95 Arnold Avenue, Coventry, CV3 5ND UK
    —————————————————

    From: Katherine Needleman
    Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 3:45 PM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Wai Kit Leung’s Review of My CD

    Dear Mr. Mullenger:

    Please allow me to share a quote from Slipped Disc regarding Wai Kit Leung’s review of my CD on your site:

    “But when Mr Leung sought support from Len Mullinger, owner of the review site, he was told that MusicWeb ‘cannot cope with the distraction of dealing with numerous incoming e-mails from myself, the artists and artist’s friends’ and that his services would not be required in future. – See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2016/06/music-critic-is-sacked-over-global-oboe-storm/#comments”

    As I did not contact you, nor am I aware that any of my friends did, I hope you can discredit the quote above. Did you make it? It looks like they spelled your name wrong, too.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Katherine Needleman

  12. Tamber King says:

    Since I was mentioned in this article, I wanted to take the opportunity to chime in. I personally found Mr. Leung’s review one of the most ludicrous reviews I have ever seen. The review was extraordinarily hypercritcal and appeared more of a personal vendetta than an actual credible ‘professional’ review. My opinion of Mr. Leung’s behavior remains unchanged, perhaps maybe even moreso due to the the emergence of this article. He perpetually refuses to accept any viewpoint or criticism of his work beyond his own opinion. It seems that this supposed advocate of free speech could simply not accept the same rights from others. While all musicians must accept criticism, why is it not acceptable for a critic to be criticized? My standpoint during this whole situation was simply one idea. If this type of hypercritical reviewing become the acceptable norm, the motivation for artists and listeners alike will be highly detrimental. Fair and balanced reviewing is a must.
    Undoubtedly, some of backlash in this situation was entirely out of hand. I cannot speak for the actions of others. On the other hand, this letter from Mr. Leung is obviously without context and poorly reflects the actual occurrences in question. I did not and would not advocate his removal nor report to his superiors. However, I found Mr. Leung’s behavior exceptionally disturbing as well. He continues in this near neurotic cycle to perpetuate this argument even now, with endless commentary after every single opinion. I agree that we all must have the opportunity to defend ourselves if we feel we have been wronged, but there is limit to where it is balanced and purposeful. I simply hope that he too may realize that there are repercussions for our actions, and perpetuating this argument is far more detrimental than it is helpful in his ’cause’.
    As far as me ‘hurling insults’ they are no more insults than they are criticisms or observations.
    Freedom of speech…ALWAYS. Freedom from consequence….NEVER.
    I will not be following this thread as I simply have nothing more to add, nor want provide Mr. Leung any additional platform for his behavior.

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Ms. King, four different people were call you out on your behaviour, I was not the only one who disagreed you. On that previous thread, I was simply politely pointing out that you did not understand what I said about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and should read about it before you posted you misguided comments, and you proceeded to accuse me of having mental problems. That was neither rational nor dignified, as Mr. von Bahr, Mr. Thompson and another passer-by pointed out to you. I did say then that’s why I didn’t want to argue with you. Let’s leave it at that.

      1. Johan Amadeus Mussorgsky says:

        Wai Kit Leung,
        Stop being a narcissist that replies to EVERY comment. You wrote a bad review and people called you out for it. Now it’s time to move on with your life.

        Do something productive, go talk to a therapist, and spend time away from your computer. Or perhaps, you could try publishing you own music CD so that you can feel what it is like to have others tear your work apart for no good reason.

        Be a man, and take the criticism of your critique with silent dignity. There is no need to give a stupid rebuttal to every comment … unless you have narcissistic personality disorder. Let your work speak for itself … just as Needleman’s work speaks for itself.

        You have already lost all credibility and the opportunity to give future reviews.

        1. Dimitri says:

          Are you back, Tamber King?

  13. Marg says:

    Reviewing is a tough job – I can well believe you have spent 10+ hours on it. I am not an oboe player but love oboe and so could have been drawn to read this review with a view to buying the CD. The review to my mind is like reading the report of an oboe exam rather than a critique of a CD. I don’t think Ive ever read a review for the buying public that is so technically detailed. I like the way you have engaged with readers commenting here, and as someone else observed this shows you are open to feedback. So please don’t be disheartened but use it as a learning opportunity, which I think you are. I found it helpful in my early review days (of concerts) to read lots of reviews that I thought were good and study how they addressed the good and not so good aspects. There are two ways of saying that in your opinion the pace was rather slow, for example, without making it clear you put on the metronome. Frankly I’m very surprised that half a dozen people including the Editor in Chief thought it was just fine. It really does read quite unlike CD reviews published on widely read websites. On the other hand, I do feel you suffered an unjust attack and cyber bullying from the performer’s fans. Whether one likes a review or not, whether it’s well written or poorly, it is what it is and that sort of online harassment is not acceptable. Good luck with future reviews!

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Dear Marg, thank you for your comment. I appreciate you took the time to offer me advice. Of course I am open-minded – as a budding reviewer, I am open to well-intentioned comments. I might have gone too much into detail in a bid of backing up my opinion. I suspect though, had I made sweeping statements like I normally do, the mob would have attacked me all the same. If you have time, please feel free to read the other 28 reviews I wrote that are posted on MusicWeb, all within a 3-month period, and kindly offer me feedback as you see fit. Thanks again.

  14. Fahordling says:

    Well that escalated quickly.

  15. Fahordling says:

    Now, I don’t know anything about the oboe. Never have, never will. But I do know about “blatant violation of press freedom”. And I don’t think you are using those words correctly. Let me help you. Freedom of Speech is where the government cannot lock you up for what you say. Same with Freedom of the Press. Print it, they can’t lock you up. Note: IT DOES NOT MEAN WE NEED TO LISTEN TO YOUR BULLSHIT. Baidu “freedom of the press” when you get a chance and see who shows up at your door.

    Thinking about it, I think this is my favorite part about the Western world: the right to say and print what you like does not mean we have to listen to your bullshit. It’s genius. My second most favorite part about the West is that we’re a very helpful. When you are lost and can’t find the door, you can count on your friends in the West to show you the way. And when you are really lost, a lot of people point you in the right direction. I think that’s what’s going on here.

    (btw – i just bought the cd. thanks for the link!)

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      No, no one needs to listen to or to read what I wrote. I didn’t publicise my review. But shutting me down, getting me fired was indeed violation of press freedom. There were people who were in agreement with my review, in case you didn’t know.

      1. Fahordling says:

        You still don’t get it: what you claim to be a violation is not actually a violation. That’s your boss firing you. I wish I could underline that.

        If the government came in and said “take down that article!”, then yes, I could see how you would be upset and I would get beside you regarding violation of press rights (depends on your laws ultimately). Your boss firing you; not so much. Basically they showed you the door because of your own actions and lack of fulfilling your obligations. They gave you an opportunity (which they didn’t need to do) and you didn’t respond in a positive fashion. That’s on you and not anyone else.

        “We did not say that. Because his activities on Facebook had brought MusicWeb into disrepute I put him on probation and asked him to complete the reviews of the outstanding discs he still held and I would then review the matter. As you know we have not removed the review. It would seem he refused to accept this probation as I have not received those reviews. Regards Len”

        You appear to be smart and passionate. Channel that energy and you will do right in the world. Right now, it’s probably best to consider how to move on. /peace

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Not looking for an argument or a fight, I just want to point out that the statement from Len Mullenger is not the truth. I already sent some additional information to Norman Lebrecht. He should be posting that soon. Appreciate your comment and suggestions though.

    2. Emil Archambault says:

      Censorship is not only governmental.

      1. Cyril Blair says:

        Absolutely correct.

  16. pooroperaman says:

    ‘Being a conscious reviewer’

    Let’s hope you mean ‘conscientious’…

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Haha thanks a lot! I have been typing from a phone.

      Hopefully I am conscious as well as conscientious while I write reviews!

  17. Conical bore says:

    I hope both sides have learned from this: the reviewer not to insert his bias against American oboe style into his reviews and for Ms. Needleman, I also have a respectful suggestion.

    Schumann and Poulenc are both staples of solo oboe rep. They’ve been recorded a lot. Everyone plays them, it’s not easy to say something new. There are soloists out there like Lelux with no shackles to an orch. job who could possibly take such a project to task without controversy.

    I think it would be more interesting and more valuable artistically if Ms. Needleman (on her next cd!) concentrated on a more unique repertoire. The modern American piece she included was apparently quite successful. Why not go in that direction?

    There are so many talented unsung composers out there why rehash Schumann & Poulenc?

    So many of the great solo instrumentalists, from Pahud to Bezaly to Hillary Hahn are commissioning new compositions. There is a huge audience for that. We want to hear new pieces! No, I am not a composer, I am an instrumentalist, and that’s the direction we are going at our conventions, in new recordings by our top artists.

    If I were Ms. Needleman, I would steer away from rehashing War Horses. It invites controversy, comparison.

    If Mr. von Bahr is still reading these comments I believe from a record producer’s point of view, he might agree. He has made a point of recording and bringing new compositions to life on his label BIS. There is tremendous artistic merit in that. It makes a lot more sense that re-recording Schumann and Poulenc.

    Ms. Needleman is an American oboist. We see now that that is not a universally accepted style. So do something that only American oboists can do: record American oboe repertoire. If it doesn’t exist commission it. Off the top of my head, someone like Lowell Liebermann comes to mind. John Harbison, Katherine Hoover, Wm. Bolcom. I am not an oboist, I don’t know what’s out there. John Williams wrote an oboe concerto for Keisuke in Boston. That’s the direction I’d take.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Like

    2. Robert von Bahr says:

      I am indeed still reading, seething (like when reading Tamber King’s totally floccinaucinihilipilificatious BS above) and – sometimes – responding.

      I am in two minds about Conical bore’s post, nicely intended as it is. My belief is that, if you have what it takes, nothing should stop an artist from recording also warhorses, indeed, that’s where the artist normally can show off his/her skills. The drawback is obviously that he/she then opens up for comparisons with the best out there, which is always a risk (or opportunity).

      At the same time my own heart is very much into the commissioning field (and I have personally commissioned in excess of 30 concertos and heaps and droves of chamber music, mostly for flute), as music must go on, develop and be distributed. But that’s also a risk. I would say that, of all the commissions I have dished out, only perhaps 10 concertos were worth the trouble and expense and only perhaps 3-5 real gold nuggets, artistically speaking (commercially there is not a huge audience out there for new music, much to my regret). We will see with the latest of my commissions, a Flute Concerto by Jeff Beal (yes, the composer to ‘House of Cards’), written for Sharon Bezaly. It shows huge promise, is fun and virtiosic and, with electric bass guitar in the orchestra, is something quite unique.

      The only reason I involved myself in this fracas is that I think Mr. Leung was wronged against. He didn’t like Ms. Needleman’ attempts, and , rather than just say so sweepingly, he undertook a huge work to substantiate it in minute detail, incl. proving his subjective opinion about tempi with metronome measuring, finding that Ms. Needleman departed from the composer’s instructions in a big way. I really wish that others would be as conscientious. To read in a magazine that artist xyz “plays out of tune”, when the artist doesn’t, without the least specification or hint where, is frustrating beyond belief. Mr. Leung forestalled all that by giving examples. Hat off for that.

      Robert von Bahr

      1. Wai Kit Leung says:

        May I add that I used the metronome marking only once, in 1 of the 16 movements on the album. That didn’t stop Ms. Needleman from misleading her fans/friends that I “used a metronome to clock her performance throughout”. Of course one need to be somewhat deficient in some department(s) to get mislead by that.

  18. Wai Kit Leung says:

    Very interesting replies from Ms. Needleman and Mr. Mullenger, and very different from my recollection. More on that later.

    The Facebook activities were all started by Ms. Needleman. She posted two posts on her page and her fan page, followed by at least two more that I knew of, on the IDRS Facebook page and on “Oboists in the World”

    For days I did not reply to or post on those threads at all. Her first two threads are still there. You can see I never posted there.

    If, according to Len Mullenger, I was put into “probation” because my Facebook activities brought MusicWeb into disrepute, does it mean that he put me into “probation” because of activities Ms. Needleman started and her fans/friends engaged in? I was simply not part of the activities.

    Would you then agree that Ms. Needleman and her mob caused my dismissal, according to the story told by Ms. Needleman and Mr. Mullenger?

    And for your info, it was not a probation. It was a dismissal.

    1. Katherine Needleman says:

      I shared Mr. Leung’s review of my CD at 9:30AM on May 13, 2016, and have record of four lengthy replies he posted at 11:27AM also on May 13, 2016. Norman, I suggest you contact the IDRS to have them release the thread you have reported on.

      1. Wai Kit Leung says:

        Ms. Needleman, I wish you were 1% as pro-active or vigilant in reigning in your fans/friends, then or now.

        1. norman lebrecht says:

          There is no sign that Ms Needleman is inciting her friends or fans. Stick to the facts, please.

          1. Robert von Bahr says:

            No, Norman, but equally, there is no evidence that she has made the least effort to rein them in, either.

            Robert (von Bahr)

  19. Alexander Skeaping says:

    Wow! What a giant spat! I’ve spent the last half-hour reading the entire thread, with great interest. & not a little amazement !

  20. John Laraby says:

    I followed the IDRS thread silently, watching the spectacular train wreck, and when it was pulled down, I followed Mr. Leung on his personal Facebook page. I shared some public photos from Mr. Leung’s page which I found inconsistent with a professional reviewer with Mr. Mullenger and here is what he had to say. This was awhile ago, May 24, quite awhile after the IDRS removed the thread. Perhaps it sheds more light on the situation. Ms. Needleman shared the review on the IDRS and said nothing more than that. I do believe she said it was untrue when Mr. Leung said she contacted MusicWeb but I don’t believe she said anything beyond that. Perhaps she should not have shared her review, but people share reviews on that Facebook page all the time. I am a retired teacher and amateur pretty bad oboist, so my hearing is probably not as sharp as Mr. Leung’s. I liked the CD a lot, and only listened to it after the brouhaha.

    Len Mullenger of MusicWeb
    To John Laraby
    CC Rob Barnett John Quinn May 24 at 5:21 PM
    Thank you for sending this along as I would otherwise have been unaware of it. We have never had any contact with the artist and only a single e-mail from a supporter of the artist. In fact we would have known nothing about his problems on Facebook had it not been for Robert von Bahr, the owner of BIS recordings, telling us what was going on. I suggested to him that he kept a low profile and did not answer the comments. We have not silenced Wai Kit Leung as he claims. His reviews are still on-line and he holds a number of discs he has yet to review – but that probably does show that we are spineless.
    Regards
    Len

    —————————————————
    Len Mullenger
    Founder of MusicWeb International
    http://www.musicweb-international.com
    mobile 07913 999009
    95 Arnold Avenue, Coventry, CV3 5ND UK
    —————————————————

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Dear Mr. Laraby, thanks for sharing the information. I appreciate you posting under your real name.

      MusicWeb had already fired me by the time Mr. von Bahr posted on the thread for the first time. I remember vividly because not a single person was in support of me when I got fired. I notified Len at MusicWeb of my “Facebook problems” about 20 hours before they fired me, so it was not possible that they found out about my suffering from Mr. von Bahr. This is not the first “untruth” Len has told and I doubt it will be the last. Please feel free to use your judgement on this, whether I am telling the truth.

    2. Wai Kit Leung says:

      And Mr. Laraby, 10 days after a massive attack, a betrayal and an unceremonious sacking was probably not the ideal time for you to evaluate me as a person. There were lots of stuff behind the scene you didn’t know. Multiple people wrote to me privately but none wanted to speak up. What you saw was my last-ditch effort in upholding my reputation.

      1. John Laraby says:

        You were fired because of the hundreds of comments you made on that thread. You should hope no one publishes them. It sounds like only one person complained to MusicWeb about your review. And at least one wrote MusicWeb to support your review. Len’s advice to let your work stand for itself was good. It’s a shame you chose the opposite approach.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Mr. Laraby, are you making this up? I could have posted no more than 4 or 5 replies (1 in reality, split up in chunks) when MusicWeb fired me on 14 May at 6:04 pm Hong Kong time. Please do not mislead the crowd that I posted hundreds of times because this was not the case. You are slendering me.

          1. Christina says:

            No, maybe it was only 80 or 90?

        2. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Unlike many in the crowd, I didn’t use a single bad word in my replies. I do not fear the thread getting published.

  21. FRANK says:

    How can you be upset that someone shared your review?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Wouldn’t you also be upset if someone ganged up on you for doing your work?

  22. KP says:

    Pls face the fact u can be fine oboist only but not the top level oboist in the world. No matter how many CD u record/what position u play in the orchestra/ How many stars u get in Amazon.

    The playing of VW Oboe concerto and Mozart C major Oboe concerto K314 are really boring as hell. Yes, I am talking about you.

  23. Wai Kit Leung says:

    For those of you who suggested I have a bias against the American school of oboe playing, please feel free to read my review on another American oboist and judge for yourslef:

    http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2016/May/Modern_tales_CRC3421.htm

  24. Scott Fields says:

    Mr. Leung, Critics have been writing about my work for decades. Sometimes they know what they’re talking about. Often they don’t. Occasionally they produce complete nonsense. And all along I have poked right back at them, just for my own amusement. Usually they ignore me but sometimes they lash out, either offended that a musician would dare criticize a critic or hurt that a musician doesn’t value their support and guidance. In one case a critic in Philadelphia, who had the honor of conducting the most incoherent interview I’ve ever experienced, flooded my inbox with email, left messages on my voicemail, sent me paper letters, and called the editor of the magazine that had published the article, all demanding that I remove one sentence about him from my website. But even he appears rational compared to your paranoid, self-pitying, self-righteous defense of an bumbling attempt to produce a readable review. Brother, if your skin is really that thin, you’re not cut out for this line of work.

    1. Dimitri says:

      This critic got ganged up, maybe he has a bit of hot air right now. Is it not ok for him to speak up? Or perhaps he should keep his experience a secret, just like he should have kept whatever bothered him about the album a secret?

    2. Anonymous says:

      He is probably a bit paranoid after getting ganged up for a week and ditched by MusicWeb when he asked for help. You had just one crazy critic chasing after you, he had a bunch of knife-wielding oboists on his back. Cut him some slack

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think we artists have a hard time separating ourselves from our instruments, so close is what we do to our personal voices, to our individual personalities and to our identities. Because of this I think we all need to be aware of our own potential to allow the ego to become injured. In Ms. Needleman’s case this is all it was: an ego injury. For those that support her, by association it appears they were injured in this way, too.
    But in Mr. Leung’s case the injury is more serious: there was a hard push to remove him from his position and he has lost his job. (It is not likely Ms. Needleman will lose her job because of a music review.) Mr. Leung’s voice is actively being suppressed by the harshest of these critics; he is being marginalized because many readers do not appreciate his detailed focus; his character is being assassinated, his qualifications dismissed as irrelevant because he lives in Asia and prefers different aesthetics of oboe playing than many of you. This movement is an active, aggressive, pejorative attack on Mr. Leung himself, not just on his writing. In reality, those who are criticizing the way he wrote his review are not much different from Mr. Leung: he pointed out musical oversights, and you point out some oversights regarding elements of style or social considerations. In fact, you all could celebrate your sameness, your humanness! It really is best to be responsible for one’s own behavior before criticizing another for his.
    The reactions from so many to discredit Mr. Leung’s expertise by calling him biased is an aggressive act designed to hurt him to the same degree many of you perceive he has hurt Ms. Needleman. But the situation has gone beyond that. And while many probably were not aware of what they have been caught up in, this is the very definition of mobbing, right down to the very common reaction of Mr. Leung’s boss who chose to dismiss him from his role as music critic. Naturally he may have been overwhelmed by the public outcry of such proportions described here. How human it is to reflexively swat the fly who buzzes around one’s head. But really it has the appearance of being convenient for him rather than of being just. I would be happy to learn of this mistake being reversed in the near future. If anyone deserves an apology, it is Mr. Leung.
    Lastly, it will take a great effort and a high level of awareness and personal responsibility to stop the tide of bullying we see cropping up everywhere we go, everywhere we look. It is fairly limitless at this time in our evolution, or should I say, devolution. We can all do better.

  26. Scott says:

    I am an IDRS Facebook member. I followed the thread and saw a bunch of crackheads attacking Mr. Leung non-stop for over a week, using languages I can’t quote here. Now you are accusing him of posting hundreds of comments?! If he posted hundreds of comments, the mob must have posted millions of comments! If that was not a mafia mob, nothing is.

    I don’t think I will ever want to review an oboe CD!

  27. ANONYMOUS says:

    Reviewer not fired or censored. Read more from Len Mullenger here:

    http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/msg/1467477856.html

    Shocked to read that you would fire a reviewer because an artist or anyone else complained about a review. Is it true?

    http://slippedisc.com/2016/06/i-was-victim-of-an-oboe-hate-mob/
    No it is not true. It is inadvisable for a reviewer to get into public arguments with the performers they are reviewing but he did not take my advice to ignore the comments being made about him. Instead he took part in a facebook storm which I told him brought MusicWeb into disrepute and now has written to Slipped Disc. My Editors and I decided to keep his review on-line because it was well substantiated and I had valued his previous reviews but I put him on probation to cause no further trouble and to complete the reviews of outstanding discs he held after which we would review the situation. He has not submitted any further reviews.
    Len Mullenger

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Another lie by Len Mullenger. I notified him the artist was not satisfied with my review. He asked me not to engage with the artist, which I followed to the tee. Ms. Needleman kept tagging me on her posts and I had to tell her to stop. She kept pestering me, I had Len’s advice in mind and didn’t reply to her. Barely half an hour later she started posted two additional posts, on the two groups I mentioned. I asked for help from MusicWeb several times more, they didn’t step in. Things went out of control and 3.5 hours later I was forced to explain to the crowd that I was not a random oboist reviewing a CD, but I was obligated to as a reviewer. I did not post again or engage in discussion after my initial explanations. The following day I got an email from Len Mullenger saying he couldn’t cope with the numerous emails from me, the artists and artist’s friends, and that they had spent a few hours on me and couldn’t afford to do that, and fired me. I sent two screenshots of that email to Norman Lebrecht 1.5 days ago, asking him to post them.

    2. Wai Kit Leung says:

      The forum on MusicWeb is moderated, so there is no chance Len Mullenger will post my reply there. When the attack on Facebook started, I posted on the forum asking other reviewers for help. Len Mullenger never published that post. In retrospect I wonder if that attempted post was part of the reason I got fired.

      1. Pablo Escobar, O.B.E. (retired) says:

        You were not fired because of a hate mob. You were fired because you review poorly, behave even worse with your constant rebuttals, and because you make a mountain out of a mole hill for the sake of your own ego.

        No one wants to hire a drama queen that creates trouble and slanders … instead of helping people or creating something beneficial. No one cares about what you have to say when you are always self-important and make yourself the centre of the universe.

        Move on with your life and try creating something artistic of your own that others can criticise needlessly. (Critical reviews don’t count as creative work. Tearing another person apart is destructive, not creative.)

        WKL, your skill with the English language is greatly lacking and you have no credibility to write music reviews. Stick to writing in Chinese about the cultural revolution and everyone will be better off.

        1. Dimitri says:

          Welcome back Tamber King, the drama queen who didn’t know what the Chinese Cultural Revolution was yet commented on it.

          Mr. Leung was fired on 14 May. Did he offer rebuttal before that?

          Should be clear to all who is the one creating slanders.

    3. Dimitri says:

      Even if Mr. Mullenger is telling the truth, doesn’t it mean that the crowd can just gang up on the reviewer, corner him, and if he ever cracks or even speaks, they can get him suppressed, if not fired? Sounds like a pretty easy way to ensure that shall be no bad review, if the number in the gang is sufficient?

    4. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Reviewer indeed fired and censored. Could you be so kind to ask Len Mullenger to respond to this?

      https://www.facebook.com/Music-Critic-Silenced-Where-is-Press-Freedom-159515511132360

      At the time of my firing, he claimed he didn’t use Facebook, so you may need to download the photos for him, or type him the relevant bits.

      Thanks for your initial inquiry. It was great that you exposed him. Bravo!

  28. Dimitri says:

    Wow, this is getting very interesting. I am thinking though – would Mr. Leung be so stupid to expose himself to the Slipped Disc crowd, if he had been lying about why he got fired? At least one party in this drama must have been lying. Which one would you bet on?

    1. ANONYMOUS says:

      I would bet on the one who has made 34 of the 105 comments so far.

      1. Wai Kit Leung says:

        How much are you willing to bet on? $100,000US?

  29. Robin Tropper says:

    In the article that answers this one (http://slippedisc.com/2016/06/music-critic-is-sacked-over-global-oboe-storm/) I tried to comment with detachment and fair play. I stand by what I said about of the review itself and Katherine Needleman’s own remarks. I missed the the IDRS Facebook thread, but I maintain my position that Ms Needleman should in no way be held accountable for what anyone else said: any person of legal adult age should be responsible for her/his own words.

    I also want to congratulate some of the other reviewers and bloggers who supported Wai Kit Leung, especially Robert von Bahr, Bruce, Marg for giving a very sober, sensible and (to my mind) unbiased defense of the responsibility to express unflattering opinions in reviews, when they are in earnest. However, in the cross-fire comments, I have to question the wisdom of addressing (definsively) nearly every point in most every comments … this seems to have added fuel to the fire more than anything and it has evidently backfired, casting doubt on his motivations.

    What I find a shame here – and I confess not having read every comment with full attention – is that Katherine Needleman did not seem to receive the same measure of level-headed support. I found her own responses on these threads show admirable self-control. Clearly, many people support her CD and show dismay at any criticism of it (which is good), but the insulting tones I have read do little, if anything to help her image. I find that shameful, because it only enflamed accusations against Ms Needleman – she deserves better.

    My own views in musical expression are quite different from those of Katherine Needleman, and that’s actually one more reason to appreciate the dedication she and Jennifer Lim clearly invested in the production. It is fine to discuss and disagree on personal tastes and preferences, it’s fine for one person to say a performance was inspiring AND another person to say the same performance was boring … but name calling and personal attacks should be beneath anyone with the ability to appreciate our art!

    My attention was brought to a Wikipedia article about Katherine Needleman. I read nothing inflammatory there, so I looked at the page’s history: for Pete’s sake the insults had been brought there! I have no reason to believe that Mr. Leung wrote those, nor that he asked anyone to do so – I have seen enough venomous discourse here to think anyone could have done this. I don’t care if hypothetically (because I DO NOT believe it) she had covertly organised a lynch-mob to forever keep a reviewer in the poor-house, attacking someone’s public biography is despicable and shows despair, not moral right! I don’t care what the legal definition of “slander” or “freedom of speech” may be, laws only exist to keep civility to a bearable level in ways that civilised people should do naturally even without the laws!

    So I want to again congratulate Katherine Needleman for her composure and also for an excellent CD production: she gives a great fine of artistic spirit. I truly hope this episode will remind everyone that the reason we enjoy classical music and the arts so much is that it removes us from the senseless trouble making we see far too much in other aspects of society.

  30. Wai Kit Leung says:

    My motive for coming forward with my story was not to debate my proficiency as a reviewer or my preference for oboe schools. The titles of the posts were not chosen by me. I wanted to make sure that press freedom is upheld and not trampled. I stand by my statement that the mob shut me down by emailing MusicWeb asking for my dismissal, absurd as it may sound.

    The responses from Ms. Needleman and from MusicWeb have not been forthright. I realize now I may be fighting a losing battle to reveal the truth. Norman Lebrecht has not published the additional supporting information I sent to him, which makes my situation even worse.

    I have setup a Facebook page called “Music Critic Silenced – Where is Press Freedom?”

    https://www.facebook.com/Music-Critic-Silenced-Where-is-Press-Freedom-159515511132360

    I have uploaded two screenshots of an email I received from Len Mullenger, owner of MusicWeb, showing the relevant bits and detailing his difficulty with the Facebook situation created by Ms. Needleman and his reason for dismissing me. I hope it will stop further debate on whether I have been telling the truth. I invite Ms. Needleman and MusicWeb to respond with an explanation, because this piece of evidence is clearly not in agreement with the stories they have been telling.

    Let’s debate the important issue – press freedom, and forget about oboe playing (for now at least).

    1. Uh-Huh says:

      Some more comments of Wai Kit Leung’s worth considering from Facebook in the last two days:

      Wai Kit Leung I am the critic. I totally agree with your view. I think you have better press freedom in Russia than they have in the USA! Bravo to my friends from Russia!

      Wai Kit Leung Thank you Vladimir Khrobystov! I wonder how many critics before me got shut down by this “artist” before

      Wai Kit Leung Artem Wahrhaftig I have heard Schumann Romance No.3 hundreds of times. I never heard the A-F-D sequence played so unsmoothly. I use forked F for that, as did/does Leon Goossens, Pierre Pierlot, Heinz Holliger, Maurice Bourgue, Albrecht Mayer and many more. This artist didn’t practise the use of the left F well, and the alternative (forked F) could have resulted in a smoother performance. Given all other recordings sound better than this one in this passage, I pointed it out. Maybe I was going too much into details – not many people buy CDs anymore!

      Wai Kit Leung Forked F meaning you finger the note x x x | x o x
      The artistic impression of the performance to me was, honestly, bland, boring, distorted and disjointed. Those were words I didn’t dare use in my review. Some of those were also words my friends used in their private conversations with me.

      Wai Kit Leung Софья Беляева the problem was, I know the piece too well. Most other oboists play the A-F-D with no issues (forked F). She played it not smoothly, which bothered me. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut

      Wai Kit Leung Yes of course. But the performance is extremely boring. There was nothing better for me to say. My student said he was falling asleep, another friend said it was boring as Hell. Whatever I said, the mafia mob would have killed me!!!

      Wai Kit Leung Don’t take my word for it. Please listen to some samples. Perhaps you will like it much more than I do

      And, so, for your consideration, the Schumann Romance No. 3 in question. Check out the F’s. They sound quite nice to me, and someone sounds quite insane:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzhhhnJhv08

  31. Michael Lisicky says:

    I am the second oboist of the Baltimore Symphony and I am no less than amazed at this entire situation, now of benefit to this blog. I can say that there was absolutely no “orchestrated” effort (what a great term) by Katherine to smear Mr. Leung. I really would have heard about it. I’m pretty sure of that. I sit just a few inches away.

    We live in a new era with social media. We are free to write, post, and respond to anybody regarding how we feel or think. Unlike a decade or two ago, newspaper columnists were frequently the arbiters of performances and there was no public way to respond to their comments, and it required a stamp. Mr. Leung wrote a heavy handed review that really was a little bizarre in approach. (I’m not going to be any harsher than that, publicly.) But now the game has changed. MusicWeb, regardless of your content and protest, should have remained by your side. Period. They abandoned you but benefitted from the brouhaha. They did. But is it right to consider and call out Facebook users that share a voice, however strong, an “angry mob?” As I said, it’s a different game now. Critics are hired to find and create news and ultimately serve their parent companies. (The re-igniting of this story, which is hardly breaking news anymore, is now serving Mr. Lebrecht.)

    Mr. Leung, it’s time to step back, take a breath, stop your responses (it’s really not helping your case) and move on. The internet has turned writing commentary into a different game. But as I stated before, I am just fascinated by these postings. At least I can attest that there was no organized effort, period, and is minimally a topic of conversation.

    1. Col says:

      “But is it right to consider and call out Facebook users that share a voice, however strong, an “angry mob?” As I said, it’s a different game now”

      Yes, and that game is Facebook & Twitter angry mobs. Nobody can say anything – even as mild as WKL’s comments – against the herd on those forums without raising an angry mob.

      WKL will know next time to review under a pseudonym. And to stay away from Musicweb.

  32. Col says:

    One thing no one’s mentioned so far is that Len Mullenger is a miserable [redacted] who has surrounded himself with a coterie of [redacted] white middle class males) who won’t let anything besmirch the reputation of MusicWeb (such as it is) apart from a constant stream of reviews which are either over-the-top in their praise of mediocrity or the mad musings of wannabe critics with big egos and cloth ears. (I’ve been in WKL’s position.)

    1. Dimitri says:

      COL, how long does it take MusicWeb to publish a review? I do not find the promised second review. Does it take so long usually?

      1. Oh yeah! says:

        Oh yeah! Has anyone checked the footnote to the review? No more second review! I guess MusicWeb couldn’t come up with a review that is any better, and don’t want to be stormed a second time. Oh yeah!

    1. Fahordling says:

      This dude is unhinged.

  33. Angela Franklin says:

    Was he paid for his work as a reviewer on this site?

    Both his review and statement above are poor prose. The content of the review shows that he does not understand much about music.

    It seems doubtful he was a paid contractor given the quality of the work and the website. Can he be “dismissed” if not paid?

  34. Cefranck says:

    My, my!! And I thought organists were a thin-skinned, humourless lot. What is it about musicians whose instruments begin with “o” (ophicleides excepted, of course)?

  35. DELIUS says:

    That is the worst classical music review I have ever read. And I have read a lot of them.

    The fact that I can read it shows me there was no violation of press freedom, blatant or otherwise.

    Perhaps some censorship for stupidity might be valuable in today’s society, however.

    1. COL says:

      DELIUS says: July 7, 2016 at 1:16 pm” “That is the worst classical music review I have ever read. And I have read a lot of them.”

      In fact, that was obviously the FIRST one you’ve ever read, because your comment makes no sense otherwise. Why do so many people feel compelled to act so immoderately and immodestly on the internet?

  36. Frank says:

    For all Dimitri/COL/Oh Yeah!/etc.’s protestations, which sound remarkably similar to Wai Kit Leung’s, they never addressed the fact that he shared a private email from a MusicWeb colleague with the world on Facebook. Wai Kit Leung shares all of this thread EXCEPT this little tidbit. Perhaps this is why he was fired? Or was it the other stuff on his Facebook page? Write a bad review of someone, fine. But leave it at that. Please also learn the difference between “slander,” “slender,” and “disagree.”

    http://members2.boardhost.com/MusicWebUK/msg/1467664786.html

    1. Anonymous says:

      I am a bystander who followed the Facebook thread.

      The crowd kept accusing Mr. Leung of being an amateur and his opinion of the disc was invalid.

      In his defence Mr. Leung showed a snippet of an email saying someone else thought very poorly of the disc also. No name or organisation was mentioned.

  37. Alison says:

    I’m late to the party, but I am reminded of this still very relevant article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html

    No one and everyone is at fault, and we should all be more aware of how these situations spiral.

  38. Brian says:

    I hadn’t intended to get embroiled in all this but I’m the person who ‘thought very poorly of the disc’ in a private email which was not intended for publication. Even though I was not named, I took exception to being quoted without permission, which is why I didn’t publish the second review as intended.

    I thought the review went into a tedious amount of detail, much of which meant nothing to me, as I don’t play the oboe, and probably meant nothing to most readers. For the record, however, I was not enamoured of the performances, especially of the Schumann Romances, though admittedly I was judging against the likes of Heinz Holliger and Alfred Brendel (Australian Eloquence). That’s judging by the highest standards, but that’s what happens when you review a new recording. David Ludwig’s Pleiades is frankly outside my comfort zone, so I can’t comment on the performance.

    For the record no-one is paid for reviewing for MusicWeb. For all of us it’s a labour of love and a house full of CDs and DVDs.

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      Dear Brian, as a reviewer who was just starting, I looked up to you and other experienced reviewers at MusicWeb. When I showed you my review of Ms. Needleman’s CD back in May, you told me “You’ve given very detailed reasons for your criticism and I think you’ve done an excellent job. Keep up the good work.” You didn’t say “You went into a tedious amount of detail, much of which meant nothing to me.”

  39. Dieter says:

    Wai Kit Leung was “dismissed” from writing a blog for which no one is paid. People took exception to his review, many of them disagreeing with it and finding it very nasty. If a performance is so bad, it should not be recommended to anyone, including fans of American oboe playing. Wai Kit Leung replied/replies to almost every comment made and really just cannot drop this issue. There was no mob except for the one he created. It sounds like MusicWeb supported him; the review still stands today and has never been removed, but after some massive ethical failings, they probably did not care to work with him any longer.

    It was clear that his review wasn’t actually a review at all when he started talking about how he himself could play these pieces better. If it were truly a review, he would write his negative comments and be done. He didn’t need to go to Slipped Disc to complain, employers of people who supported the artist in question, he didn’t need to go to other news outlets, he didn’t need to start Facebook groups to share comments about how poor the artist is if it were truly just a review, he didn’t need to speak publicly of how terrible he felt the CD was at every possible opportunity. His Facebook profile picture for some time was a photo of someone else supposedly complaining about the CD but who knows if it was real or not. This is just nasty and has nothing to do with reviewing.

    The beauty of music is everyone can have an opinion. If Wai Kit Leung wants to share his opinion publicly under “freedom of the press,” others can disagree under freedom of speech. Or they can agree. As we all wish…

    For reference, here are some other reviewers and their points of view:

    (of the Poulenc Sonata by Peter Dobrin, featured on this disc–no mentions of metronome failings):

    http://articles.philly.com/2016-08-02/news/74806255_1_katherine-needleman-astral-artists-pianist

    (of the whole disc in the Weiner Zeitung, you have to read German but it’s very good):

    http://www.wienerzeitung.at/themen_channel/musik/cds/klassik_cds/837483_Von-dieser-Oboistin-will-man-mehr-hoeren.html?em_cnt=837483

    1. Wai Kit Leung says:

      I wrote my review in March, it was published on 1 April. I didn’t share it or tell anyone about it. I do usually share my reviews, but not this one, because I didn’t want the artist to look bad. I wrote it and was done with it. Katherine Needleman saw it in May, posted inciting and misleading messages on her page and on her fan page, befriended me on Facebook so that she could tag me on her posts. I twice removed myself from her tag, and asked her please not to tag me again. 30 minutes after I stopped replying to her pestering, she posted two more inciting and misleading messages on two FB groups: IDRS and Oboists in the World. So how on earth did I create this mob? I was dismissed less than 24 hours after that because MusicWeb chickened out, and more importantly, because Needleman and/or the mob made up the story that I was the one who started the attack and created unrest.

      The mob attacked me non-stop for 4 days even though I didn’t respond to their abuse apart from explaining my role as a reviewer. Sylvain Gnemni kept attacking me saying I had no right to write my review, and challenged my ability as a player. To shut him up, 4 days after I got dismissed, I told him “yes I could play the pieces, was that good enough for you?” I didn’t say whether I would play the pieces better or worse, but I have learned by now that slandering is in your element, Katherine (or Dieter rather).

      Your attackers kept accusing me of being the only person who had a negative view on your album. I told them that was not the case, and they asked for proof. I couldn’t post a photo on the thread you started, so I had to put that as my profile photo to show them. I changed it afterwards. It was all from the attack you started and sanctioned, Katherine Needleman. Please don’t confuse the crowd that I was the one going around and tell everyone how bad your playing was.

      Anyone here can see that I created the Facebook page after constant lying and denial from Katherine Needleman, her supporters, and MusicWeb. I was just showing the truth, since the original IDRS Facebook thread was deleted. It was Needleman and her supporters who said they wanted to show the Facebook thread (probably with the knowledge that IDRS already deleted the copy), so I did what they asked for. And I didn’t even comment on my page how good or bad Katherine Needleman was as a player. I just showed what she did as a person, her role in the attack.

      Your complaint sounds exactly like the one from Katherine Needleman. She already used a fake Facebook profile to spam my page and to talk to me, and with the knowledge of what I told that fake person (massively naive on my part), she proceeded to harass and intimidate at least one of my Facebook friends. She also used a particular piece of information I only divulged to the fake profile. Is it you who is writing this again, Katherine Needleman?

      Please don’t keep embarrassing yourself, Katherine/Dieter. A positive review of your from another performance doesn’t validate or disprove my review of your album. Please do not force me to react by sharing other people’s opinions on your album, because I didn’t get a single word of praise. I just wrote my review in March and walked away. No one even saw it until you dug it up on 12 May. What are you trying to achieve?

      1. Dieter says:

        Because I think you are a jerk and I have a different opinion than you, I must be Katherine Needleman? “Unhinged” is what someone said earlier and seems accurate.

        1. Wai Kit Leung says:

          Katherine/Dieter,

          Let me repost Katherine Needleman’s Facebook post from 1 July, which has now been deleted. The similarity to your post is clear. The post has been deleted for some time, so it is unlikley a “Dieter” could reference it when he/she wrote the post above:

          *******************************************

          Katherine Needleman

          July 1 at 12:50am ·
          ..

          My comment on the CD Review drama, which has now made its way onto Slipped Disc:

          I have contacted Mr. Mullenger about his quote provided to Slipped Disc by Wai Kit Leung just now, because it is simply not true. I await his reply. I celebrate freedom of the press, and never called for the firing of Wai Kit Leung, nor do I know of any of my friends or anyone else who did, as he claims. I frequently share my reviews on my Facebook page, whether they are positive or negative. This review was particularly interesting and amusing to me, as I had never seen one like it before. I do not know of any reviewers who would speak of rehearsal numbers, clock a performance with a metronome, or complain about a fingering choice of the performer. I believe it took off on the IDRS Facebook page because many oboists were incensed that one oboist would write such a review about a colleague. We are normally a pretty supportive and lovely community. The IDRS Facebook page administrator deleted the thread mentioned, and I wish I had saved it, as it spoke for itself.

          If Mr. Leung were only out to write a review of my CD to help potential buyers make a choice, he is doing a service to the community if my CD is bad. However, given his huge number of comments defending himself (which have since been deleted), his public posts on his own Facebook page supposedly from others about how bad my CD is (including one from a 12 year old student of his)–he even used this as a profile picture, and the fact that he referenced his own ability to play these pieces in his defense, I feel his review is problematic. He has made numerous references to the “American mafia” and our substandard oboe playing in other places on the internet.

          Mr. Leung is still listed on MusicWeb’s home page as a reviewer, so I am not even sure if he has been “sacked” at all as he claims. If he has been, it is not because I have called for it. What kind of publication would fire someone for writing a poor review of someone if the artist complains?

        2. KP says:

          If he is a jerk, you must be a joker!!!

    2. KP says:

      Miss Katherine, No one is free to smear you and your CD. Being drama queen doesn’t help anything.

      Just keep asking your frds to give you 5 stars to your CD in Amazon.

    3. KP says:

      Does Miss Katherine need to complain to Amazon about the 2-stars review of your CD?

      Oh well, I do think Miss Katherine should open a class to teach “How to write a review”

  40. Dieter says:

    You have accused someone else of being Tamber King because they thought you were crazy. I think that too. Does that make me Tamber King next?

    I do admit to reading all this mess too closely on the internet and am embarrassed about that. And you are right that Dieter is not my real name.

    My point that you should write your review and leave it at that still stands. Many other people have made that point as well. “Grow a pair,” as someone on IDRS said to you.

    1. Wai kit leung says:

      Katherine/Dieter,

      I have read far too many posts from you and from Ms. King to confuse the two of you.

      I wrote my review on 18 March and left it at that. It was published on 1 April. Who was the one who posted it on at least four groups on Facebook (with inciting and misleading messages)? Who stormed MusicWeb with emails and fake story to get me fired? You should just read the review and leave it at that. It wasn’t that I was not available to discuss the review with you – I accepted your Facebook friend request afterall (huge mistake). I thought you added me to discuss the review, which I was open to. How naive/stupid I was.

    2. Wai kit leung says:

      Katherine/Dieter,

      If you chose to use a German fake name, you might want to learn to spell some basic German words right. It is Wiener, not Weiner.

      1. Dieter says:

        Thanks for the kind help. It was my autocorrect. German is my mother tongue, actually.

        Yours,

        Not Katherine Nor Dieter, Just not using my name because you are obviously nuts

        Looking forward to your reply about my misspelling because you can’t let a thing go..

        1. wai kit leung says:

          On the subject of mental health, this is what a conductor (someone unknown to me) wrote on Norman Lebrecht’s Facebook page:

          “… I think this is a very good review and that Ms Needleman and her gang were really insane in attacking Mr Leung …”

          1. norman lebrecht says:

            OK, enough repetition. This topic is now closed.


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