Friends and admirers are passing around online the news that longtime Los Angeles music critic Alan Rich died yesterday. He would have been about 85 (born 1924, per the Wikipedia page about him, which has been updated with his passing.) Jonathan Gold, posting on Twitter, calls Rich "a force at L.A. Weekly for decades; the last great critic in LA." In addition to the Weekly, which fired Rich in 2008 after 16 years, he had written for the Herald Examiner, New West and California magazines, CityBeat, the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, New York magazine, Newsweek, Daily Variety and, most recently, for Bloomberg. Rich also blogged, but not since February, at So I've Heard, the name taken from his 2006 book, "So I've Heard: Notes of a Migratory Music Critic."
John Rockwell posts:
When I lived in LA in the early 70's, I was bemused at how the locals were constantly proclaiming LA the new, happening arts city. They were premature then, but it all came true eventually, and Alan had a good deal to do with that, reaffirming the easily overlooked role of sympathetic criticism to the nurturing of a local scene....I will miss him, and so should American music.
Ann K. Powers on Twitter: "RIP Alan Rich, grand old fella of classical music writing."
Phil Gallo, who edited Rich at Daily Variety from 1995 to 2009, by email: "Always my first choice for any classical assignment, he never pulled punches and made every review about the music performed on the stage, not about the personalities, backstage drama or incidents that surround a performance."
Bob Goldfarb, former executive at KUSC and KFAC, in his Jewish Journal blog: "Classical music has lost one of its most astute and beloved chroniclers....He was respected and loved by legions of friends and colleagues."
* Updated post