Chicago classical music writer von Rhein reflects on 40 years as a critic

Posted on: July 2, 2018

“What’s it been like holding an aisle seat on four decades of classical music in Chicago? Exciting, challenging, illuminating, sobering, surprising, frazzling, humbling,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (6/27) Chicago Tribune. “It was 40 years ago … that I moved from Akron to Chicago to become the Tribune classical music critic. In a couple of days I will retire from what has been the most rewarding experience of my career in journalism. To have occupied an important post at the same newspaper in a city known throughout the world as a major cultural center for that amount of time may be unprecedented. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity. As I sift through memories of my four decades at this newspaper, I am struck by how things come full circle. My first review for the Tribune was of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Bruckner and Michael Tippett, triumphantly, under Georg Solti. My final local review, last week, was of the CSO playing Rossini and Cherubini, triumphantly, under Riccardo Muti…. I worked long hours to keep Tribune readers abreast of the action.… My central aim was to give the reading public an informed yardstick of opinion by which they could measure their own reactions to a given performance.”

Posted July 2, 2018