Having written more than 6,000 pieces for The New York Times and countess pieces for highly respected publications around the world since the mid-70’s, Allan Kozinn’s musical insights will find a new outlet, as we launch our very own culture magazine, with a target rollout date of August 1st, 2015.
Allan currently writes for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Opera News, Classical Music Review, San Francisco Classical Voice, Musical America and others, with new offers coming in daily for both print and radio.
Liberated from mainstream editorial constraints, we hope to spotlight up-and-coming artists by covering Greenwich-Village-in-the-60’s-like artistic ventures and personalities, wherever they may be found, in addition to big names and venues with established brands, that readers currently follow.
Music reviewing in its various forms is Allan’s forte, and will remain his focus for the new culture magazine, as well as the publications that quickly sought him out when he parted with the Times in December — newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Collaborating with Valley Voice co-founder, Alexander Theberge, we aim to meld Alex’s reputation for providing top shelf graphic layout and technical support, with Allan’s consistently and artfully expressed music knowledge, to create an uncluttered cultural space where readers can bask in all things creative, without having to navigate a minefield of intrusive pop-up ads.
Our magazine — name to be announced — will include regular columns for reviews, a feedback forum, coverage of music, art, venues, museums, news, commentary and Q&A’s, in addition to poetry, an advice column, bios, features, and contests. Although the format will be tidy and organized, we hope to come-off as professional, but relaxed — kind of “OCD meets Zen”.
When I asked Allan what aspect of this venture he’s most looking forward to, he said, “I’d like to have my own advice column, but it would probably be about as well received as John Lennon’s 1969 faux diary…. Seriously, though, it’ll mostly just be nice to write about anything that looks interesting to me, without having to convince people who may know nothing about it, that it has value.
“For instance,” Allan told me, “when the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first visit to America came around, I mentioned to my editors that we ought to commemorate it in some way, and they basically rolled their eyes. Until, a couple weeks before the anniversary, one of them came to my desk with Billboard, Rolling Stone and a couple of other magazines and asked, ‘why are the Beatles on the cover of these magazines?’ Covering contemporary classical music was often an uphill battle as well. I trust my instincts, and I’m pretty sure that if I find something interesting, I’ll be able to talk this editor into it.”
During his two years as a general culture reporter, Allan wrote about art, theater, jazz, books and other cultural topics that we hope to cover in the new magazine. And although the paper’s editorial “needs” sometimes meant that his cultural news column, ArtsBeat, read like a celebrity crime blotter, he was also able to report on new music and other topics that he felt were a more crucial part of the cultural conversation.
When Allan was reassigned in September of 2012, a petition circulated and web pages popped up, voicing disapproval of the Times’ decision to pull him from reviewing. A barrage of public and private notes of solidarity came in for months, and still trickle in. One reader wrote, “For thirty years, I’ve had Kozinn with my coffee — I’ve read every review he’s ever written.” Many suggested Allan start his own website for reviews, and promised to follow him there. Others offered to help fund it, and purchase subscriptions. We’re still working on that portion of the model. Paywalls are tricky, and we want to do it right. The idea is to make our work accessible to as many people as possible, but we’ll have running expenses, too, so we’re working on finding a healthy balance.
Contact info, submission guidelines and job opportunities will be posted in May.