American composers reflect on the state of music criticism in America today

Ned Rorem Ned Rorem
“There are less than 100 paid critics of serious music in America today… The music of living composers is not even despised because to be despised you have to exist…”
Carolyn Yarnell Carolyn Yarnell
“It boils down to this: if I get a rave review, I think, “Now, there is someone who knows what he is talking about,” and if I get a derogatory review, I write him off as a cretin…”
John Corigliano John Corigliano
“Accountability is essential for everyone, even the IRS and music critics…”
David Rakowski David Rakowski
“…it would seem that critics could, and should, make choices that would better make the case for American music…”
James Wierzbicki James Wierzbicki
“I fought many a battle to convince philistine editors that what music-lovers wanted to read were intelligent discussions of music, not interviews with famous artists or puff pieces about upcoming musical events…”
John Zorn John Zorn
“I have no thoughts on music critics because they’re not worth thinking about.”


In 1989, a group of prominent American composers including the late John Cage met in Telluride, Colorado, to discuss the state of music criticism. Here is a complete transcript of that meeting.