Allan Kozinn, a long-serving and widely respected classical critic for the New York Times, is being taken off the music beat and assigned to general cultural reporting. Allan wrote yesterday in a public message on his Facebook page: "It's been more than a privilege to write about music and musicians for the Times for the last thirty-five years. I've heard, seen
and covered a few lifetimes' worth of great and interesting music. Although there's a great deal more I wanted to do — I've really enjoyed
watching the new-music world catch fire in recent years — I'll
obviously continue to keep tabs on it through Steve Smith's work, not to mention directly, where possible, while I'm doing whatever it is I'll be doing instead." Many in the music world, myself included, are baffled and saddened by this development: a petition calling for his reinstatement gathered hundreds of signatures overnight. Whatever the outcome of that effort, Allan must be gratified to see this outpouring of appreciation for his decades of work. He is a critic of vast experience and keen perception.
Update: More than a thousand people have signed the petition, quite a few of them composers and performers who may or may not have received favorable reviews from Allan in the past. The quality that keeps getting mentioned in the comments is this critic's fundamental fairness.