The oldest classical review site turns 25

The oldest classical review site turns 25


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2019

Back in January 1996 when only a few geeks were online, molecular biologist Len Mullenger set up MusicWeb International.

Since then it has held steady as a seriously good resource for truly serious reviews – 52,122 of them as of this morning, all of them readable free without a paywall.

Len, now 76, has stepped back from the day-to-day editing but the site has kept up his high standards. The publishing of reviews is looked after by David Barker in New Zealand, while Jonathan Woolf in London sends out releases for review.

We wish them well for the next quarter-century.






  • Sure, why not says:

    Lovely story. Can anyone provide rough ages and other favored sites, I am always looking to be introduced to more.

  • David Rowe says:

    Somebody with direct knowledge will need to verify this, but I believe it’s possible San Francisco Classical Voice ( may have been slightly earlier? It launched certainly around the same time, and I remember being introduced to the concept by founder Robert Commanday in 1994 or 95. But perhaps SFCV wasn’t online until sometime later in ‘96 or even ‘97.

    • Jack says:

      Not sure why that’s relevant or important. Perhaps there were others before MusicWeb. But MusicWeb is still here providing a valuable free service. The matter of ‘Who was first?’ wasn’t the purpose of Norman’s post.

      I think the point here is to salute someone who has done a great service to us all for many years with this labor of love.

    • Norman made an error. MusicWeb International was launched in 1995 and I think ClassicsToday was around as well. I have never claimed we were the oldest site but we were one of he earliest.
      Len Mullenger

    • Charlotte says:

      According to the about page, sfcv started in 1998. I also thought it was older.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I know Dr. David Barker!! A good choice.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Great site and what a value!!! MWI is my go-to site. Unlike some sites that you pay for, MWI is updated daily and has many valuable resources. Best of all are links to order CDs I’m interested in. Keep up the great work! (And for all of you who use it and don’t financially support it – please do!)