MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews

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281,202 performance reviews were read in October.

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Editorial Board

  • Editor - Bill Kenny
  • London Editor-Melanie Eskenazi
  • Founder - Len Mullenger

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Seen and Heard was launched following an Editorial in BBC Music Magazine (July 1999) which highlighted a crisis in music reviewing. At the time,  our  Editor  Peter Grahame Woolf wrote that "The BBC Music Magazine's Editor, Helen Wallace, deplores how serious music is being squeezed out of the Dailies, classical music being "the first to fall victim".  Space for concert and recital coverage has been progressively reduced, with fewer arts editors or  music critics than formerly.  Younger artists can no longer rely upon having reviews to promote their careers."  Helen concluded that "only the Internet offers a ray of hope; maybe a new era is nigh after all". Peter Grahame Woolf's seminal article - 'Only a Web Site' in which he discusses the importance of web based musical criticism appears here

Classical Music on the Web
- as MusicWeb International was  then called  by its Founder Dr Len Mullenger - had a rapidly growing reputation as the largest music website in Europe. From as early as autumn 1998, the site  had established an important outlet for CD reviews (under Rob Barnett's editorship) and  covered many worthy releases overlooked by printed music magazines and newspapers.

The need for a new live music journal was a nettle that Seen and Heard  grasped early.  Besides the music loving public, under PGW's guidance Seen and Heard set out - and pursues the same course to this day - to serve the entire music profession including performing artists and teaching institutions, composers, publishers and performance venues, both those with established audiences  and others seeking new listeners.  Seen and Heard's  policy has always been to offer special encouragement to artists who promote unfamiliar repertoire. Our reviews are published quickly, sometimes overnight, and all of them have been archived for later retrieval. (See Archived Reviews 1999 - 2007.)

Peter Grahame Woolf edited Seen and Heard from 1999 - 2001 and still writes about live music for his own website Musical Pointers. He is  Seen and Heard's  Emeritus Editor.

Marc Bridle took on editing in 2001 and held the position for five years until moving to Canada. The pattern begun by PGW continued and under Marc's leadership Seen and Heard expanded in the UK and abroad. In 2005, Bill Kenny joined Marc as Regional Editor extending review coverage to most parts of the UK in response to comments received that our reporting missed out the huge number of  interesting events taking place outside of London. This expansion still  continues today and in addition to covering London, Seen and Heard's UK reviewers now cover the five major opera companies regularly as well as orchestral concerts and  the important summer music festivals.   By the end this month we will have reported this year from Aldeburgh, Buxton, Edinburgh International Festival, Three Choirs and the Oxford Lieder Festival to name just a sample. So far as we know,  Seen and Heard was the only organisation reporting every  round  of  the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in any kind of detail.

When Marc Bridle moved to Canada in 2006, Melanie Eskenazi took over the position of London Editor while Bill Kenny expanded his brief to the international scene. Marc had already ensured that Seen and Heard  published reviews from the USA - San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and the Aspen Music Festival  - as well as occasional reviews from Europe, but these activities have developed enormously over the last eighteen months.

Seen and Heard now has a team of  forty reviewers at any one time, covering most of the UK, but also reporting opera and concerts from many of Europe's  principal opera houses and concert halls plus others in  Australia, Japan and ten regular venues in North America. We had reviews this year from the summer festivals at Bayreuth, Bregenz, Tanglewood and Aspen, Colorado as well as Pesaro, Torre del Lago and Orange.

Both MusicWeb and Seen and Heard  are now properly called international and continue to grow almost daily. We are reasonably sure that  Music Web International as a whole is the largest online classical music magazine anyhere in the world and that Seen and Heard is unique in publishing regular reviews of  both concerts and opera worldwide twice weekly.

While our current  daily readership figures are  substantial  - up to 12,000 Seen and Heard reviews are read daily and MusicWeb International as a whole has more than 50,000  readers every day - there is still much more music  to report on everywhere,  from new discs and from new live events venues.  We are working  hard at both.