A brief personal note

By Lawrence A. Johnson

I announced in March on this site that I would be moving back to my hometown of Chicago to start up Chicago Classical Review, a website that will cover the Windy City’s rich music scene, and The Classical Review, which will focus on significant performances and premieres around the country.

 As I mentioned then, as editor, I will continue to direct the coverage of South Florida Classical Review, but daily reviewing will be passed to other local writers. Tonight’s performance of the New World Symphony’s season-closing Tchaikovsky program will be my final Florida article. After posting that review on the site, I will start my drive to Chicago and the next phase of my life.

 I’m not one for the long goodbye or extended, self-aggrandizing farewells—besides I don’t have time to write one.  Also I believe for a critic and arts journalist the focus should be on the music and the artists, not on those who cover it.   Still, after almost a decade in South Florida, it seems inappropriate not to leave without some brief farewell words.

 I’ve spent nine years and as many seasons here: six with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, two with the Miami Herald and the last running South Florida Classical Review.  It has been exhilarating, exciting, depressing, hilarious, and infuriating, often all at the same time.

 There’s no doubt that there have been disappointments—obviously, the demise of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and, this past year, the Concert Association of Florida, were crushing blows to the region’s arts scene. I also continue to be amazed by the dishonesty and mendacity of some individuals who held and continue to hold prominent positions in local arts organizations.

 But the majority of the memories and experiences I take with me are positive ones. I especially treasure my years in the dysfunctional features corner of the Sun-Sentinel where the flamboyant personalities, rapier wit, professional cynicism and gallows humor made the tread of daily deadlines bearable and even delightful. Many thanks to all, especially my friends Sean Piccoli, Tom Jicha, Tom Swick, and the late, greatly missed Jack Zink, for providing the best newspaper years of my career.

 I’m also grateful  for the colleagues on the outside, the presenters, administrators, press people and musicians who made the last nine years such a rich experience. Thanks in particular to Howard Herring, Patrick Quigley, Judy Drucker, Michael Spring, Craig Hall, Doreen Marx, Julian Kreeger, Shelly Berg, Thom Sleeper, Alan Johnson, Bruno and Suzanne Aprea and everyone else who tires, often thanklessly to ensure that classical music continues to have a strong presence in the region.

 A note of gratitude to the writers who have contributed so much to this site in the past year. And a big thank you to my friends in Florida and elsewhere who have been such a source of support and advice, particularly in the last year. You know who you are. And finally, props to  you  the readers, whose comments, positive and negative, continue to make music journalism so lively and rewarding.

Good luck to all.

                       Larry Johnson

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3 Responses to “A brief personal note”

  1. Posted May 02, 2009 at 10:35 pm by Rick

    Happy trails, Larry. Thanks for all the great reviews you logged during the past year.


  2. Posted May 02, 2009 at 11:58 pm by William

    Thanks for starting this site. It is nice to be able to read a review the day after it happens.

  3. Posted Nov 09, 2009 at 5:28 pm by Barry Mintzer

    Dear Larry,

    Thanks for your many insightful columns , both in the Sun-Sentinel and the South Florida Classical Review. I especially enjoyed our little, informal conversations at the Broward Center during the Concert Assoc. or Opera performances.

    Best wishes to you for a successful career in Chicago,
    Barry Mintzer

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Sat May 2, 2009
at 4:51 pm