American Record Guide
independent critics reviewing classical recordings and music in concert
He is working on a music PhD at the University of Chicago. At the University of New Hampshire he studied musicology and music theory with Rob Haskins. He is a composer, and he plays most string instruments (even guitar) and keyboards.
Paul L Althouse
A product of both Harvard and Yale. His undergraduate thesis was on Mahler; his PhD dissertation at Yale was on Carl Loewe. While at Yale he also helped found the Yale Bach Society, and he conducted its concerts for seven years. From 1970 thru 2012 he taught music history and theory and directed choral activities at Connecticut College in New London. He has now retired to Maine. He has written for us since 1976, and we have had the benefit of all his choral conducting experience. He has a special interest in Brahms and Schubert, as you may have noticed. He is also a church organist.
John W Barker
He taught history at the University of Wisconsin from 1962, but is now retired in Madison. His field was the Middle Ages, and he has done a lot of research in Europe. He has collected records since he was a teenager and has a huge library--including scores and books on music. He has written for us since 1957, which makes him our senior critic. Among his books is one on the use of music and recordings in teaching medieval history.
He is a native of New York, where he attended the High School of Performing Arts and the Manhattan School of Music. His graduate degrees are from the University of Miami and Syracuse University.
For many years he directed the Fine Arts Department of the Broward County (Florida) main library. He has also written many music reviews for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. He was a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Florida Philharmonic and president of the Recorded Music Society of South Florida, where he still lives.
He was attracted to ARG because he is upset about the "dumbing down" of classical music. His E-mail address is email@example.com, which tells of his love for Delius. But he reviews mainly piano recordings--his instrument.
Charles E Brewer
has taught since 1992 at the School of Music at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He earned his PhD in musicology from the City University of New York in 1984. His dissertation was on late Medieval Polish music, and he has published many articles on Medieval performance practice. He also contributed the article on Heinrich Biber to the New Grove Dictionary and has written liner notes for Sony and Harmonia Mundi.
He has written for ARG since 1980. He has played every instrument except percussion, oboe, and flute; but his primary instrument was the French horn, which he studied with notable players in New York, including the first horn at the Metropolitan Opera. He has also studied music theory, analysis, history, and orchestration. All the members of his family are performers (wife and three children). He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, but has a law practice in New York. He has written on music for other publications. For us he has covered everything from William Byrd to Schoenberg, with special emphasis on Haydn, Wagner, and Mahler.
was born and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his classical music education was nurtured by attending Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concerts every Saturday night during the years of Max Rudolph's reign. As a high school student he was an avid bassoonist but, eventually took-up the organ as he realized he would never be able to make a functional bassoon reed. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying with the legendary Wayne Fisher, and a DMus from Northwestern University. He taught for 38 years as Professor of Music and University Organist and Choirmaster at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Under his direction the University Choir made ten recordings and undertook 12 tours of England, singing the service of Choral Evensong in over 25 cathedrals and abbey churches. He has played organ recitals throughout the US and Europe, and made six solo CDs for Naxos (all reviewed in ARG!). He and his wife Susan are avid bibliophiles and enjoy living with their cats.
He worked on his Master of Music in piano performance at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; his Bachelor of Arts is from Cedarville University. He stays busy as an accompanist and coach, working at several schools and colleges in southwestern Ohio. He has composed off and on over the years, with a full symphony completed at age 14. Patrick Hanudel, another of the Miami Mafia, has performed Stephen's clarinet sonata, Technical Difficulties, on recitals. Stephen is also a book and record dealer, and does a little website design as well. He's an obsessive bookworm, neologist, punsmith, record collector, intractable joker, and writer of essays and songs. He's probably the only ARG reviewer to have performed with an orchestra, played accordion in a Mexican gospel group, and handled banjo and bass in several country bands. Interests include Russian history, travel writing from the first third of the 20th Century, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Shostakovich, and theology.
lives in California and has been a record collector for 50 years. He has several thousand classical, opera, and musical theatre recordings. Although he was a piano minor in school, his career has been in business. Through his business and personal travel he has visited all the world's great concert halls and opera houses, and he is especially fond of vocal performances and musical theatre. As a long-time subscriber he has some idea what readers are looking for in a review.
After 13 years of pathetic piano lessons, Gil French wound up stuck in a college seminary with only classical music allowed (sans Carmina Burana). So he gradually built a wide listening repertoire by comparing recordings of the same works. An MA in Music History was mere frosting on the music itself. In recent years he's honed his ears even further through weekly reviews of records in area newspapers. He spent many years as an announcer at classical WXXI-FM in Rochester NY, where he still lives, and as host and producer of Rochester Philharmonic broadcasts. O Fortuna! His favorite instrument is the orchestra.
William J Gatens
Bill Gatens has been writing for ARG since 1990, with a specialty in organ and sacred choral music. He is Organist-Choirmaster (since 1991) at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) in the Philadelphia Main Line suburb of Rosemont. In October 2001, he became organist for Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park. From 1986 to 1997 he was an announcer for Philadelphia's classical music station WFLN, until new ownership and imagined economic pressures brought a change of broadcast format. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Oxford University (D.Phil. 1983). Over the years he has contributed articles and reviews to Music and Letters, The American Organist, Victorian Studies, and Albion. Victorian Cathedral Music in Theory and Practice, a book based on his Oxford doctoral dissertation, was published in 1986 by Cambridge University Press. He is also a contributor to the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the New Dictionary of National Biography. In addition to his church and synagogue work, he plays occasional organ recitals in the Philadelphia area and has appeared as harpsichordist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
has degrees in composition from Eastman and Juilliard. He has won awards as a composer (including ASCAP and The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters), has been an award-winning music professor (at Lawrence University, Appleton WI), and has published articles and reviews in 19th Century Music and Notes. He lives in Florida.
Here is the the latest of our "Miami Mafia"--a considerable group of writers that graduated from Miami University here in Oxford, Ohio. (Our other mafia is the Eastman group.) He plays the flute and has won more than $10,000 in flute competitions. He has taken masterclasses with 16 key people in the field. He has performed in Carnegie Hall and in Europe. He has been part of a number of chamber ensembles and has made a few arrangements for flute. He lives in Tennessee--the only ARG reviewer in the state.
Armed with degrees from UMass and Johns Hopkins University, Phil Greenfield entered the gritty arena of the Maryland public schools some 21 years ago. There he stays teaching World Civ and Comparative Religion, though he finds it harder and harder to tolerate the bureaucratic nitwits working so determinedly to ruin what's left of public education. A year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher to England stiffened his upper lip and helped extend his career in the classroom. Since 1987 he has contributed arts criticism to The Baltimore Sun on a weekly basis. He has sung professionally as a soloist and in many choirs over the years, most notably at Washington DC's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Since 1981 he has served as cantor at Mishkan Torah Synagogue, Greenbelt MD. He has reviewed choral music for ARG since 1993.
Mr Hansen joined ARG back in the 80s when he was still a college student. (For a while he was our youngest reviewer.) He is an editor during the day and a music lover the rest of the time. That began in high school, when he discovered the classics. The Chicago music scene has given him a number of thrilling experiences, and WFMT has introduced him to a lot of unusual music over the years, though he now lives in Iowa. Genuine enthusiasm motivates his listening and writing--and music is a wonderful relief after a day at the office computer and his attempts to deal with office politics.
He is from Akron, Ohio, but now lives in North Carolina. He has had more than 15 years of experience in classical music as a performer, teacher, and writer. He has served as Principal Clarinet of the Tucson Symphony, attended the Tanglewood Music Center and Banff Arts Centre, and for three years taught clarinet and saxophone in the Houston public schools. His teachers include Michele Gingras of Miami University (Ohio), David Peck of the Houston Symphony, and Richie Hawley and Ron Aufmann of the Cincinnati Symphony.
For a number of years Mr Hanudel worked on a Doctorate in clarinet performance at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory and served as Principal Clarinet of the Columbus (Indiana) Philharmonic. In addition to his studies at CCM, he designed and administered the Masters oral exam for the clarinet studio, and he was a mentor and advisor to minority graduate students who need assistance with their research-related writing skills. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, discussing current events, and following Cleveland sports teams.
Mr Harrington has been a performing pianist for nearly half a century. His BA is in Music History and Theory, and he did graduate work in Musicology and Accompanying.
He has been an orchestral keyboardist, chamber music collaborator, accompanist, and occasional church organist. The other keyboard in his life has letters, numbers, and special characters and is the one that pays the mortgage. Harrington Software, Inc. is a New Jersey company that deals with public school districts.
A major career high point was giving the world premiere of the original French version of an early Rachmaninoff song in Paris (1998)--still never published or recorded. He has also publicly performed all of Rachmaninoff's music written or arranged for one piano, four hands. That project culminated in appearances at the 1999 Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island.
is a professor and coordinator of graduate studies for the music department of the University of New Hampshire. He holds a DMA in harpsichord and a PhD in musicology from Eastman. (In fact, he is the heart of our "Eastman mafia", because he has recommended so many reviewers to us.) He has written for ARG since 1993 and has reviewed harpsichord and piano music as well as 20th Century music (especially Cage, Glass, and Reich). He has recorded for Leonarda, Cantaloupe, and Mode. He has published a book on John Cage. His other interests include film, fine dining, and pets.
He lives just outside Boston and works as a reference librarian, which he calls "the perfect job for someone who knows a little about everything and not much about anything". He discovered music in his high school band program and later majored in Music Education at Syracuse University and studied trombone at Eastman School of Music. He played bass trombone with the Syracuse Symphony and Lake George Opera, and has been freelancing in Boston for several years.
He is quite interested in audio; he builds his own tube amplifiers and is very devoted to vinyl recordings.
He is especially fond of orchestral music and opera, especially modern American, British, and German tonal composers through the middle of the century and many of the romantics.
He is an avid reader and has written two novels and several stories. He rides a bicycle year-round (hates cars).
Sang Woo Kang
He has played piano and held master classes in Asia, Europe, and South America. He teaches at Providence College in Rhode Island. In the summer he directs the Piano Institute and Seminar at the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine.
He is a graduate of the Juilliard School and Eastman (doctorate). He has recorded for Naxos and EMI Korea. His music blog is at www.sangwookang.com.
Mr Keaton has been a subscriber since 1988. He is Professor of Music and Associate Dean at the College of Arts & Letters at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he has taught since 1977. He holds three degrees in classical guitar performance from the University of Miami. He was the second person in the country to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in guitar. Later master classes with Pepe Romero shaped him as a performer. He has given many concerts in the Eastern US and in Europe and has recorded Die Schöne Müllerin with tenor Ron Manning. He has a special interest in chamber music and works for voice and guitar. He has six parrots, is an avid traveler, and enjoys a wide range of hobbies, including fine food and wine, paleomalacology, snail darting, and emboucher.
Since Barry Kilpatrick has been writing for American Record Guide (1989) he has reviewed many hundreds of recordings, mostly of brass. He is Associate Professor of Trombone and Euphonium at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where the School of Music has some 475 music majors. He is also Principal Trombonist of the Erie Philharmonic and Fredonia Chamber Players and a member of the Fredonia Faculty Brass. He often tours with Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band. He has a recording, American Music for Euphonium. For many summers he has taught at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts (Mercyhurst College in Erie), serving as Chair of the Music Department for the past five years. He and wife Cathe have two children in their 20s. To take his mind off work sometimes, BK likes to jog, play golf, and work in the garden.
He has a dual degree in clarinet and philosophy. Interest in the stranger capacities of the clarinet led him to contemporary music, but he was impatient with hours of practicing alone. He is still primarily interested in minimalism, noise, electronic music, and so forth. He has written Fluxus pieces and is a practicioner of electro-acoustic music. In philosophy he enjoys the French existentialists, Immanuel Kant, Theodor Adorno, and aesthetics.
Bradley Lehman grew up in Indiana and has lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia since 1996. His doctorate from Michigan is in harpsichord performance, with experience in all the other early keyboards along the way. He has composed a lot of church music, some of it published. When not playing classical and jazz records too loudly for his wife and children, he has a full-time career as a developer of business software and sporadically plays in contract bridge tournaments. Dr Lehman's professional legacy is probably going to be his discovery in 2004 of a keyboard temperament in Bach's ell-Tempered Clavier. His research papers and demonstrations from that problem-solving venture have been received well. His own CDs as harpsichordist and organist are available.
Mark has a doctorate in English literature from the University of Cincinnati (where he taught until recently) but his true love--besides his wife--is music. His specialty is unusual modern music, which he's been covering for ARG since 1991; he also edits and contributes reviews to another magazine. He's a dedicated (but selective) record collector, and his library of broadcast tapes of 20th Century music includes thousands of pieces not yet commercially available. His Pilgrim Songs, a cycle for soprano and piano, was issued by Enharmonic.
Ralph Locke loves to write for the general music-loving public. During his college years, he contributed to several Boston publications, including the Phoenix. He then took a detour into academic musicology, earning his graduate degrees at University of Chicago and, for forty years, teaching at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. He has written or edited four books, and six of his scholarly articles have won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music. He continues to write scholarly articles and to edit the book series Eastman Studies in Music (University of Rochester Press). Locke now lives in the Washington DC area and is a Research Affiliate at the University of Maryland. He began sending reviews sporadically to ARG because he wanted the world to know about this or that unusual recording that he had heard. Since 2015 he has been contributing more regularly. His tastes are wide-ranging: art song, French and Italian opera, twentieth-century American music, and much more.
Peter V Loewen
A native of Canada, Mr Loewen teaches music at Rice University--Medieval, Renaissance, and baroque music, as well as a course on non-Western music. He earned his PhD in Historical Musicology from USC, with a dissertation on late Medieval music. His instrument is the double bass.
was born in Western Michigan but has lived in Los Angeles for many years. He is a violinist and violist with degrees in music and art history. He has played in many a chamber ensemble and some orchestras, mostly in Michigan. He has taught violin. Like a number of us, he spent a few years as a classical music radio announcer. He joined ARG in 1996.
After earning degrees in English literature and organ performance, Catherine Moore completed a PhD in musicology at the University of Liverpool (England). Her doctoral thesis on the 17th Century composer Michelangelo Rossi was published as a book by Garland in 1993, and she wrote the article on him for the revised New Grove. She has also been involved in the music business since 1981 and has her own marketing consulting firm. At New York University she taught graduate courses in Music Business. She has now retired to her native Toronto.
has played principal cello for the Queens Symphony Orchestra for almost 40 years. He is a Juilliard graduate, studied cello with Leonard Rose, viola da gamba with John Hsu, conducting with Jorge Mester, and musicology at NYU (ABD). He has taught at Cornell (he was born in Ithaca), Southampton College, York College (CUNY), and William Paterson University and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. He has recorded for five record labels and was a member of the Kohon Quartet. For many years he played the cello for the Broadway production of Les Miserables.
Mr Moore has written for ARG since 1969, reviewing a wide range of music. His interest in music of all kinds is insatiable. He lives with his wife Sharon in the New York area.
Robert A Moore
He served as pastor of United Methodist congregations in New England after he graduated from Boston University School of Theology in 1971, retiring to Maine in 2011. He has loved music from childhood, played various musical instruments, sung in choirs, and collected recordings for 50 years. One of his strongest interests is lieder and vocal music, which he reviews for ARG. He also enjoys travel, cinema, and gardening.
Stephen Thomson Moore lives in Florida. He has degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford (DMA). His main instrument is the flute, but he has directed choirs and early music groups. He has translated music books into English--mainly from Spanish and Portuguese, and that has added to his expertise in Latin American music. He is now translating a book by André Gretry. He was CD review editor for Early Music America, and back in the last century he even wrote for a magazine called Fanfare. It looks like he can cover quite a wide range for ARG. (By the way, the four Moores who write for us--there was even a fifth a few years ago--they are not related.)
Don O'Connor was born in London, England to Irish parents. He became a US citizen in 1954. In 1963 and 1964 he got his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Industrial Design from Syracuse University, where he also studied post-graduate level musicology. He won five national kitchen and bath design awards and in 2007 was inducted into the National Kitchen and Bath Industry Hall of Fame.
His lifelong interest in classical music included a time as the music critic for the Syracuse Post-Standard (1967-1971) and the Syracuse Herald Journal (1971-1973). From 1977 to 1980 he wrote a local record review column. He joined ARG in 2006.
From 1974 to 1978, he was the tympanist and program annotator for the Susquehanna Valley (now Williamsport) Symphony Orchestra and from 1980 to 1985 choir director at St Peter Lutheran Church in Kreamer PA, where he still lives. He was also a contributor to the Millennium Edition of Groves Dictionary. He is a member of the Havergal Brian and Felix Draeseke Societies.
Charles H Parsons
He has been involved in almost every facet of opera research and production. He studied music, literature, and fine arts at the University of Cincinnati. In the Spring of 1995 he was awarded an honorary PhD from the Mellen University, Lampeter, Wales. While daily pursuing the duties of Librarian at the College of Law in Cincinnati, he still found time to produce The Mellen Opera Reference Index--a series of 24 volumes on many aspects of opera--as well as writing for ARG, Opera News, Opera (London), and The Cincinnati Review of Politics and the Arts. For more than 20 years he has lectured at Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music and College of Continuing Education at the University. He loves travel--a remnant from his times living in London and Rome. He is also interested in languages, archeology, and art history, and is active in the Episcopal Church.
Luke Pfeil, bassoonist and composer, began piano and composition studies at age 3 and later added clarinet, saxophone, voice, trombone, viola, and horn. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, where he also prepared program notes, and did post-graduate work at Boston University. He performs regularly with orchestral, chamber, and studio groups. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children.
Mr Radcliffe is not an older collector who grew up with 78s, as one might expect (he has always covered older recordings in ARG). In fact, he was born in 1955 and grew up in the Cincinnati area, where he sang in the choir at the May Festival. He began listening to old records in his college years and was immediately fascinated by the way people expressed themselves in an earlier era. It's not that there were better musicians 50 or 80 years ago; it's the differences and the period flavor.
For many years he has taught literary history (in Virginia), so there must be some kind of connection. He has two daughters who probably realize how strange their father is. How many of their friends grew up in houses full of old records and were treated to scratchy performances by Mengelberg and Stokowski?
Born in Vienna, Austria, he came to these shores in 1969. After obtaining doctorates in psychology from both the Universities of Vienna and Chicago he conducted research in a private laboratory until 2011. His nearly 200 published articles deal with speech perception, expression in piano performance, rhythm, timing, and synchronization. At home he has been playing the piano all his life for his own enjoyment and has had his fingers in nearly all standard (and also some less familiar) repertoire, though not in virtuoso pieces. Those he knows from much listening and attending many hundreds of concerts. He has also played piano duets and chamber music with his violinist daughter. His musical interests encompass solo, chamber, orchestral, and vocal music from Bach to Shostakovich, but not Baroque, religious, Second Viennese School, and contemporary music (with some exceptions). A special hobby for over 50 years has been to compare different performances, in order to keep only the very best in his record collection. He also loves to follow piano competitions on the Internet and making his own predictions. When not engaged with music he enjoys reading, walking, taking photographs, strong beer, his wife’s superb Asian cooking, solving Sudoku, and playing games such as chess and Ticket to Ride.
David Reynolds is the son of English (father) and Austrian (mother) immigrants so there was always music of one kind or another in the home. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a BA in English and a double minor in Elementary Education and German. After teaching in Atlanta, GA for eight years, he moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue film and television work. Some TV shows he appeared on are Arrested Development, Chuck, Victorious, and Monk. He also acted in Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses, Hills Have Eyes II, and Sushi Girl among other films. In addition to being an actor and teacher, David has been an opera nut since he was nine years old. Introduced to opera via Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, he began collecting first LPs and then CDs, amassing an enormous collection, most of which was sold off within the last couple of years. Now living in Pontiac, MI, David continues to act and direct in local productions and has begun collecting again. He loves all opera, choral music, Shakespeare, and classic movies (especially silent films). When he isn't listening to opera, he's usually listening to old time radio shows. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Sininger attended Oberlin College (AB in 1965). He earned a Masters in Education from Miami University in 1970 and taught English in the high schools of the Forest Hills School District (Cincinnati area) for 31 years. He began attending opera at the age of 10 and has attended over 1600 performances of over 300 operas. A resident of Cincinnati, he regularly attends operas at the Metropolitan, in Chicago, Santa Fe, and many other opera sites around the country. He also teaches opera courses in conjunction with the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute at the University of Cincinnati and the Life-Learn program at the College of Mount St Joseph.
He has a PhD in English from Columbia and is Chair of American Studies at Rider University, but his real passion has always been music. He moved to New York City from Greenville, South Carolina mainly so he could go to concerts--a decision he has never regretted. In addition to writing for the ARG, he contributes frequently to the New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World and is Program Annotator for the New Jersey Symphony. His books include Elegant Nightmares, a study of the English ghost story; Words on Music, a collection of essays on music chosen for their literary quality; and New World Symphonies, a study of how American culture changed European music. He is married to writer-editor Robin Bromley and is the weary but happy father of two young boys, who are daily indoctrinated in great music.
He grew up in the New York area, the son of immigrants. Only classical music was allowed in the home. Love of music and serious religious commitment drew him into dual careers. After a ThM from Princeton in 1968 there were many years as a Methodist minister and even three years teaching Christian Ethics at a major university. There were ten years as a radio announcer at classical FM stations. In one he was Record Librarian.
He began writing for ARG in 1983 and became Editor in 1987. He has also written for other publications. Other strong interests include travel, beer and wine, and reading. He is a swimmer. He lives in Cincinnati for the low cost, the climate, and the orchestra.
He took piano lessons, as so many people did, but decided he would never be a good pianist, so gave it up. He has read orchestral scores since he was 13, and the sound of the orchestra is his favorite sound.
Stephen Wright's fascination with classical music began in his late teens after he found a compilation of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven piano sonatas tucked away in an old forgotten stack of sheet music. Though some of it was beyond his rudimentary pianism, it revealed music of great power, subtlety of expression, and exhilarating virtuosity and complexity--far surpassing the commercial pop and rock music he grew up with. He soon began collecting classical CDs and over the next 20 years acquired more than 15,000 discs. He doesn't play the piano much anymore, but keeps his fingers busy as a legal transcriptionist and court reporter and makes his home in peaceful rural Oregon.
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