Classical Review founder chosen as one of Chicago’s most influential people in music

July 19, 2013
By Dennis Polkow

Lawrence A. Johnson

Lawrence A. Johnson, the founder of The Classical Review and Chicago Classical Review, has been chosen one of the top behind-the-scenes figures in Chicago music by Newcity Chicago’s “Music 45” issue.

The entry in this week’s Newcity issue notes that with classical music coverage shrinking in media outlets every day, “Chicago native Lawrence Johnson’s venture fills an important and growing need, where we boast perhaps the best orchestra in the world, one of the top opera companies around, and a host of significant other venues, ranging from Ravinia to the Grant Park Music Festival.”

Acknowledging Johnson’s background as “a seasoned print journalist,” Newcity states that he “deploys multiple writers” in putting out “previews to features to thousands of reviews since [CCR] launched in 2009.” Newcity notes that Chicago Classical Review draws nearly 20,000 visitors a month at peak season. In addition to The Classical Review, Johnson has launched regional sites in Boston and Florida, with an announcement expected soon about a fifth site to come this fall.

Johnson joins a distinguished list of area music figures across musical genres in 2013, which includes Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman, CSO president and CEO Deborah F. Rutter, Grant Park Music Festival principal conductor and artistic director Carlos Kalmar, WFMT executive vice president and general manager Steve Robinson and Harris Theater manager and managing director Michael Tiknis, among others.

The list was last published in 2009: Johnson is one of 26 names new to the list from four years ago.


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