Music magazine ceases print

Music magazine ceases print


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2020

The UK-based Classical Music magazine, launched in 1976, has gone digital-only from today, with a new website, and an editorial advisory board comprised of the serving heads of British music intitutions, which is hardly a guarantee of good journalism.

The magazine, when it started out, contained bold and challenging reporting. I remember being commissioned, around 1980, to write an account of the unhealthy links between British orchestras and festivals and the thriving tobacco industry. I did my best to smoke them out.

Those days are long gone and now so is the magazine.

Sic transit.


  • Firing Back says:

    On the editorial board:

    Mark Pemberton – director of the Association of British Orchestras.
    WHY? Gossip-in-chief in the industry, he’s totally ineffectual as head of the ABO.

    Helen Wallace – artistic and executive director of Kings Place.
    WHY? What exactly does she bring to balanced journalism?

    Cathy Graham – director of music at the British Council.
    WHY? She’s totally irrelevant.

    Atholl Swaintson-Harrison – chief executive of the International Artist Managers’ Association.
    WHY? What’s the point in this appointment?

    Chi-chi Nwanoku – founder and artistic director of the Chineke! Foundation.
    WHY? To bring ‘balance’? To allow the white establishment to feel good about itself? Shameful all round.

    Ian Ritchie – freelance artistic director, creative management and transformation consultant.
    WHY? Or should I say WHO? ‘Transformation consultant’… Right. #Eyeroll

    What a dead rag this magazine has become in recent years. Propping up the cronies who have ruined an industry.

    Just disband.

    • Patrick says:

      Firing Back. Well said. A conglomerate of non musicians, with the token tick box Chineke, who are actually projecting unconscious discrimination towards us all. Ian Ritchie is married to the managing director at the LSO! These people are really in touch with grass roots musicians. Not.

      • Firing Back says:

        Patrick, absolutely!

        “…token tick box Chineke, who are actually projecting unconscious discrimination towards us all”. Why does no one seem to see or acknowledge this – it’s so obvious!

        Aha – thanks for the heads up re Ian Ritchie.
        No cronyism there, then!

    • MWnyc says:

      Whom would you recommend for the editorial board?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I wouldn’t read any magazine that had Joan Sutherland on the front cover. Too old-fashioned and stodgy for me.

  • Duncan says:

    Thanks Norman. As one who subscribes to the print edition it’s good (please note the sarcastic tone!) to hear such news from a secondary source rather than being informed personally by Rhinegold publications. Probably won’t renew my subscription now…!

  • Pedant's Corner says:

    “……comprised of the serving heads……”.

    …Comprised of…? Get a grip, please.

  • A digital only format doesn’t seem to hurt SD. Paper is nice, but perhaps it’s just a sign of modernization?

  • Herbie G says:

    Ah yes, Chi-chi Nwanoku.

    To quote her, re Rule Britannia, which she sought to have banned at last year’s Proms:

    “The lyrics are just so offensive, talking about the ‘haughty tyrants’ – people that we are invading on their land and calling them haughty tyrants – and Britons shall never be slaves, which implies that it’s OK for others to be slaves but not us,” Nwanoku told the Guardian. “It’s so irrelevant to today’s society. It’s been irrelevant for generations, and we seem to keep perpetuating it.”

    “If the BBC did not axe Rule Britannia, [I] would be mortified. “I will feel invisible with my people and our history. If the BBC are talking about Black Lives Matter and their support for the movement, how could you possibly have Rule Britannia as the last concert – in any concert?”

    Regarding ‘and Britons shall never be slaves, which implies that it’s OK for others to be slaves but not us’, by the very same perverted logic ‘Black Lives Matter’ means that other peoples’ lives don’t. In fact, that has been borne out by the fact that BLM went on the rampage in the USA in a wanton orgy of violence, torching all kinds of buildings and causing other widespread damage.

    On the other hand, as far is I am aware, slavery in Britain had already been adjuged unlawful in the late 18th century and abolished by an Act of Parliament in 1833, long before the USA did so.

    So for her to say that ‘Rule, Britannia’ implies that ‘it’s OK for others to be slaves’ is rubbish and nobody in their right mind would interpret it as such.

    But it gets far better. In 2001 the very same Chi-chi Nwanoku (correct me if I am wrong, it might have been someone else with the same name) accepted and MBE (Member of the BRITISH EMPIRE) and in 2017 she was made an OBE (Order of the BRITISH EMPIRE) in the QUEEN’s BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST! Far from being embarrassed by this, the header emblazoned over her website says Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE ~ Double Bassist
    This is surely the same hypocritical contortionism as is exhibited by Diane Abbot and her Labour colleagues who anathematise private education while sending their children to private schools.

    I have always admired Chi-Chi Nwanoku as a musician but I deplore her recent antics. She should spend her energy on doing what she does best – promoting the careers of musicians from ‘ethnic’ backgrounds. She founded the Chinkeke! Orchestra but this seems to have fallen out of the limelight. Where are the CDs? Why doesn’t she arrange and advertise public concerts? Why doesn’t she get them to be booked for the Proms – or are they out of favour because they play Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia? I bet the very woke BBC would snap them up. I bet that if they appeared there, the huge majority of the audience would be white.