Another US newspaper axes its music critic

Another US newspaper axes its music critic


norman lebrecht

June 14, 2016

The respected Timothy Mangan has been ‘restructured’ by the owners of the Orange County Register.

‘This time it’s me!,’ he writes.

‘I was told that they are restructuring, and going in a different direction.

‘What can I say? I’m stunned and looking for work. Perhaps that’s enough for now.

‘Though I’d like to say at least one more thing: Long Live Music Criticism!’

Now a whole stretch of the west coast becomes a classical desert.



UPDATE: More thoughts here.


  • Gary says:

    Tim Mangan was the only oasis in the desert that is the OC Register.

  • Tim Mangan says:

    Actually I hadn’t been the celebrity columnist for yeras.

  • Olassus says:

    Mangan: “I’ve worked at the paper a little short of 18 years and was given two weeks severance. I’m looking for a lawyer who will work pro bono or for a small fee to help me get some more severance.”

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    The trends for music criticism and recordings is definitely leading toward online reporting, and for downloadable recordings. Tim Mangan is a brilliant music critic, for his wealth of knowledge and expertise with the language. He has reviewed several of my performances, including the premieres of Bolcom and Danielpour works with the Pacific Symphony. I wonder if it is remotely possible to start an online ‘Classical California Online’, or ‘West Coast Classical Online’ and have reviewers collaborate to feature their stories, articles, reviews of performances and recordings. Funding can possibly come from music companies, publishers, record labels, and other factions of the music industry seeking online global advertising. Just a thought.

  • chris says:

    Tim Mangan is a brilliant, intelligent writer. The OC Register was wrong and short-sighted to get rid of one of their brightest people. Add to the fact, as Olassus quotes above, that Mangan had been there for 18 years and was only given two weeks severance adds insult to injury.

  • Milka says:

    In this day and age being a so called music critics means nothing and carries little or no significance to the art .

    • John says:

      OK, Alex Ross, you can quit your job now.

      • Milka says:

        There are millions of people who partake in making ,playing ,listening to music
        who have not heard of or read one word by Alex Ross on the art of music .. and
        lo behold they seem to survive .The select few that read his comments and feel
        he matters are just that, a select few. One suspects that the magazine for which he
        writes would have him long gone if it would not cause them an embarrassment in
        admitting after all these years his written thoughts carry little or no weight except for
        that select few who believe he matters .

        • John says:

          Alex, you heard Milka, QUIT. NOW.

          Hilarious response, Milka. I thought you might understand the influence of critics of Ross’ stature, but it’s obvious you do not.

          BTW, have you read any of the six books he’s authored.

          Trust me, he matters. You do not.

          • Milka says:

            For people with limited imagination or understanding to the art like yourself his writings may carry some sort of influence . The point being made was that for the majority of the so called classical music world he is unknown and means nothing.
            To think otherwise along with attributions of influence is wishful thinking .

          • M2N2K says:

            There are no mortals whose imagination and understanding are not “limited”. To think otherwise is ignorant.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    The role of a music critic has evolved since the 1800s–although returning to some extent. As I see it, much of music criticism today serves as an audience building tool, a source of music education and bringing awareness to communities of diversity to performances they might otherwise not be aware of. Cutting arts writers at newspapers can cut off the community from the arts and also lose readers for the newspaper. The arts writers are the connective tissue between the arts organizations and the community, in conjunction with whatever the arts organizations do to maintain and build audiences. Ridiculing a performance doesn’t help expand audiences–rather, turns them away. It becomes a lose-lose situation. With the growth of technology, it may turn many arts writers to create new ways online to reach those audiences, perhaps working directly as media channels for the various arts organizations in their communities, rather than one newspaper.

    • Jason Victor Serinus says:

      So, Jeffrey, you would have arts critics abdicate their original role, ask for funding from the very organizations whose work they criticize, and basically serve a low-paid adjunct publicists? I don’t think so.

  • HBarca says:

    Apart of the stupidity of firing Tim is he is one of the paper’s few ties to the wealthy, educated clientele that see and support classical music and stage. They have advertised in the Register because of Tim’s oresence his absence will withdraw that impetus.

  • Margaret says:

    I have been waiting for days for Mr Mangan’s review of Sheena Easton! Now I know why it has never appeared. Sad.

  • victor chang says:

    Hi Tim,

    Remember the Chinese guy at your son’s concert in Laguna Woods?
    I read your first piece on Chalifour and Harth-Bedoya in LA Times.
    I am so happy for your new job.
    Just want to say, Congratuations!

  • Liz says:

    Jeffrey Biegel’s comments are intelligent and deserve a serious try. It’s true that “art writers are the connective tissue between the arts organization and the community…”
    Chapman University received a grant a year or so ago to study the role the arts play in
    enhancing the economies of a community. No, the organizations should not fund the art writers. Rather, musicians and philanthropists should–I think there’s a funding organization by musicians for musicians who are out of work.

    Best to you, Tim, and Mike Wallin in Irvine is a great attorney.

  • Alan G says:

    Tim, sorry to hear – haven’t seen you since FVHS, but have enjoyed reading your writings over the years. Seems like the O. C. Register is really in bad shape when they let their star writers go. Hope something better comes your way soon!

    Alan Greenfield