in: News & Features

November 18, 2009

If you hear something, write something! Boston Musical Intelligencer is One Year Old

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Last October with my colleagues, Lee Eiseman (publisher) and Bettina A. Norton (executive editor), I participated in the launch of the Boston Musical Intelligencer. Though it was clear enough to me at the beginning of this undertaking that Boston needed better coverage of its classical music scene, I was not prepared for the rapidity with which our readership grew, nor was I expecting such enthusiasm on the part of our volunteer contributors.

A few numbers may serve to illustrate my points:

Mr. Eiseman tells me that our hit rate has grown from the low hundreds each day last October to over 4,700 per day at present. Total accumulated hits now amount to over 700,000. More than 30 regular contributors have produced 250 articles and reviews. Google has indexed over 800 links to our pages. BMInt’s calendar has become the most complete in the greater Boston area. And a number of music organizations’ 2009-2010 season brochures featured quotes from our articles.

Nor is it merely about numbers. It is also about the quality of the writing. Almost all writers are musicologists and/or composers. I need not count the number of advanced degrees held by our volunteer staff, nor would I wish to speculate about how many scholarly articles they have previously published in their fields of expertise. I shall hope not to engage in hubris by asserting that BMInt is on track to becoming what we hoped for — a modern version of Dwight’s Journal of Music for the computer age.

The other aspect of our success is the participation of the groups whose concerts we list and review — and many of them would not have reviews at all were it not for our modest undertaking. Most Boston-area presenters from the large commercial types to the smaller-scale specialists have been on board as well. Not only have they linked to BMInt reviews and articles, they have in many cases collaborated by placing small advertisements for our site in their program books. Many music organizations, prominent to small, are now asking us to send reviewers.

My final words to our readers: “If you hear something, write something.” Offer your blog opinions at the bottom of the Intelligencer’s posts, or if you have more to say, send us your reviews and articles for consideration. Our email is info@classical-scene.org.

Robert D. Levin is Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. A world-wide acclaimed classical performer, composer, and musicologist, he has completed and reconstructed a number of classical works, especially unfinished compositions by Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach. Prof. Levin is also Artistic Director of the Sarasota Music Festival.

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