Obituary: Donald Henahan, 91

Posted on: August 21, 2012

“Donal Henahan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic who wrote, often provocatively, for The New York Times for nearly a quarter of a century, died on Sunday at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan,” writes Robert D. McFadden in Monday’s (8/20) New York Times. “Mr. Henahan, an accomplished pianist and classical guitarist, reviewed operas, concerts and recitals for the daily newspaper and wrote longer-form essays on a wide range of cultural subjects for The Times on Sundays from 1967 to 1991, when he retired after 11 years as chief music critic. He won the Pulitzer for distinguished criticism in 1986…. Mr. Henahan’s essays for the Sunday Arts and Leisure section often drew barrages of letters from readers hailing or huffing over his commentaries—on the flawed acoustics of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, or Schubert’s sexuality, or Tchaikovsky’s purported suicide or the introduction of English-language supertitles in opera productions, which he called ‘help for the befuddled.’ … Donal Joseph Henahan was born in Cleveland on Feb. 28, 1921, the son of William and Mildred Doyle Henahan. His father was a lawyer. Donal studied at Kent State University and Ohio University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942. After the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University and did graduate work at the University of Chicago and the Chicago School of Music. In 1947, while still at Northwestern, he joined The Chicago Daily News. He became the newspaper’s chief music critic in 1957…. In 1980, he succeeded Harold C. Schonberg as The Times’s chief music critic. ”

Posted August 21, 2012