Washington Classical Review was launched September 10, 2016 and is the sixth website in the Classical Review network founded by Lawrence A. Johnson.


Lawrence A. Johnson
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 his hometown of Chicago in 2009 to launch Chicago Classical Review. In addition to continuing to serve as lead critic of CCR, he is also editor of all the 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 grants and selectively commissioning new works from American composers.

Lead Critic/Associate Editor

Charles T. Downey

Charles T. Downey moved to the District of Columbia in 1991 from his home state of Michigan. He founded the pioneering Ionarts blog in 2003, served as Classical Music Contributor for DCist from 2004 to 2011, and has been a freelance classical music writer for Opernwelt, Washingtonian, and the Washington Post.

After serving as a roving summer festival reporter for The Classical Review, he was delighted to help launch Washington Classical Review in 2016 and serves as Associate Editor and Lead Critic. He holds a bachelor of music in piano from Michigan State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from The Catholic University of America, with research specializations in Gregorian chant and French Baroque ballet and opera. He also teaches music and art history and has worked as a professional choral singer in several Washington churches for the last twenty-five years. He lives on Capitol Hill with his two children.


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