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What’s the point of reviewing concerts?

A lively debate is developing over on the Music Haven blog in response to an article by conductor/artistic director Tom Hammond in which he questions the usefulness of reviewing concerts when it seems that the main focus is on “big name” artists and venues in the big cities (i.e. London) and scant attention is paid to out of town or smaller scale and amateur performances.

As a reviewer myself, for this blog and also for a major concert and opera listings site, I regularly question the value of reviewing concerts, and it troubles me that certain reviewers seem to focus an undue amount of attention on the big names and almost none on lesser-known or more unusual artists and ensembles. Personally, I see my role as an “enabler” – enabling artists, audiences and reviewers to connect, engage and communicate via my blog and my reviewing. As the British pianist Peter Donohoe said in his own earlier article on music critics, ultimately we should all be on the same side – that of the music – and I feel we have a responsibility as reviewers and music bloggers to support the rich musical landscape we are so lucky to have here in the UK.

Read Tom Hammond’s article

And read my response to Tom’s article