About

Chicago Classical Review was created by Lawrence A. Johnson in May 2009 to provide a new source for comprehensive coverage of the city’s bustling classical music scene.

Editor/Lead Critic

Lawrence A. Johnson
Born in Chicago, Lawrence A. Johnson is the former classical music critic of the Miami Herald and, prior to that, classical music writer at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He was a freelance critic for the Chicago Tribune throughout the 1990s, covering classical music as well as rock and theater, and wrote regularly for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Opera News, Opera and The New Criterion. Johnson moved back to Chicago in 2009 to launch Chicago Classical Review. In addition to continuing to serve as lead critic of CCR, he is also founder and editor of New York Classical Review and all the other Classical Review sites.

In 2014 Johnson launched the American Music Project, a nonprofit foundation committed to advocating for American classical music of the past through performance grants and selectively commissioning new works from American composers.

Regular Contributors

Wynne Delacoma
Wynne Delacoma is the former classical music critic of the Chicago Sun-Times and an adjunct faculty member focusing on arts reporting at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing. She is a Chicago-based freelance critic, feature writer and lecturer. In addition to CCR, her regular media outlets include MusicalAmerica.com.

John Y. Lawrence
A contributor to Chicago Classical Review since May 2014, John Y. Lawrence is a PhD candidate in music history and theory at the University of Chicago, and has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has a master’s degree in musicology from King’s College London and was a music and English major at Yale University, where he specialized in musical theatre composition.

Tim Sawyier
Tim Sawyier has been a contributor to Chicago Classical Review since July 2014. He studied oboe at the Curtis Institute of Music and was twice a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He subsequently earned two master’s degrees: one in European history from the University of Chicago, and another in clinical counseling from the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Currently he sees adults in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy at Depth Counseling, and is an analytic candidate at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.

John von Rhein
John von Rhein’s’ four decades as classical music critic of the Chicago Tribune make him one of the few classical music journalists to have held the same post at the same paper anywhere in the nation, and, indeed, the world. He retired from the paper in July 2018.

His tenure surpassed that of his two predecessors, Thomas Willis and Claudia Cassidy, combined, and managed to beat the 37-year track record of Robert C. Marsh, who reviewed classical music for the Chicago Sun-Times for 37 years before retiring in 1993.

Von Rhein holds bachelors degrees in English and music from the University of California at Los Angeles and California State University in Los Angeles. He is a former violinist. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from DePaul University in June 2011.

He has written for numerous publications including Opera, Opera News, the American Record Guide, Fanfare, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. He continues writing on a freelance basis for Chicago Classical Review, Opera, American Record Guide and other publications.