Tim Page (music critic)

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For other people named Tim Page, see Tim Page (disambiguation).

Tim Page (born October 11, 1954 in San Diego, California) is a writer, editor, music critic, producer and professor. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic, the editor and biographer of the American author Dawn Powell and the chronicler of his own experiences growing up with undiagnosed Asperger syndrome.


Page grew up in Storrs, Connecticut, where his father, Ellis Batten Page, was a professor of education at the University of Connecticut. In 1967, Page was the subject of a short documentary, A Day With Timmy Page, that chronicled his early interest in filmmaking.[1] During this time, he studied piano and composition, and founded a rock band, "Dover Beach." He attended E. O. Smith High School, also in Storrs.[citation needed]

Page moved to New York in 1975, attended the Mannes College The New School for Music for one year, and then transferred to Columbia University.[2] By the time of his graduation in 1979, Page was already writing for the arts magazine Soho News and other publications and hosting a contemporary music program on the Columbia radio station, WKCR.[3]

In 1981, he began an 11-year association with WNYC-FM, where he presented an afternoon program that broadcast interviews with composers and musicians, including Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.[1] An interview with Glenn Gould, comparing the pianist's two versions of Bach's Goldberg Variations, was released as part of a three-CD set entitled A State of Wonder: The Complete Goldberg Variations 1955 & 1981 in 2002.[1]

In 1982, Page joined The New York Times, where he was a music writer and culture reporter until 1987.[1] He became chief music critic of Newsday in 1987 and then chief classical music critic of The Washington Post in 1995.[2] In 1997, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for what the Pulitzer board called his "lucid and illuminating" music criticism.[2] He has also written widely on film and literature for the Post and elsewhere. Page edited works of Dawn Powell, beginning in the 1990s, and wrote a biography of the author, Dawn Powell: A Biography (1998). He later edited and annotated the Library of America's two-volume collection of Powell's work published in 2001.[4]

In 1993, Page served as the first executive producer for BMG Catalyst, a short-lived record label. Projects included Spiked, an album of music by Spike Jones with liner notes by Thomas Pynchon; Memento Bittersweet, an album of music by Chris DeBlasio, Kevin Oldham, Lee Gannon and other composers; Night of the Mayas, the first CD devoted entirely to orchestral works by Silvestre Revueltas, Mexico's leading composer; two solo recital discs by violinist Maria Bachmann and several others.[1] Bruce Brubaker recounted how Page introduced him to Philip Glass.[5]

In 2006, Page was chosen as one of the 25 most influential people in the world of opera by the magazine Opera News, not only for his writings but for his early championing of critics such as Anthony Tommasini, Justin Davidson and Philip Kennicott.[citation needed] He has also helped launch revivals of the writings of Sigrid Undset and Robert Green Ingersoll, and he wrote an appreciation of the late singer-songwriter Judee Sill, whom Page considers "an artist of extraordinary gifts.[6]

At the Washington Post and since, Page has opposed professional careers for child artists, calling it "unwarranted exposure" and comparing one young artist to JonBenet Ramsey, stating that she was "squandering her natural treasure".[7] He wrote: "the cult of the prodigy has always struck me as one of the most debased aspects of the music world ... singers face a greater risk than violinists and cellists."[7] He also wrote: "I mistrust the "cute kid" brigade for two principal reasons: It is deeply exploitative and often ruinous to young artists, and it transforms age ... into a liability for more seasoned players."[8]

Since leaving the Post, Page has been named a professor of journalism and music at the University of Southern California.[9] He currently lives in South Los Angeles, California.

Asperger syndrome[edit]

In August 2007 Page revealed in The New Yorker that he had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, "in the course of a protracted effort to identify – and, if possible, alleviate – my lifelong unease".[10] His book-length memoir Parallel Play was expanded from a 2007 article in The New Yorker. It was published by Doubleday in September 2009 and is about his experience growing up with the disorder.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Hip Pocket Guide to New York (Harper and Row, 1982). Editor
  • The Glenn Gould Reader (Alfred A. Knopf, 1984). Editor.
  • Selected Letters of Virgil Thomson, with Vanessa Weeks Page (Summit Books, 1988). Editor.
  • William Kapell: An Illustrated Life History of the American Pianist (International Piano Archives at Maryland, 1992). Author.
  • Music From The Road: Views and Reviews 1978–1992 (Oxford University Press, 1992). Anthology of previously published work.
  • Dawn Powell at Her Best (Steerforth Press, 1994). Editor.
  • The Diaries of Dawn Powell: 1931–1965 (Steerforth Press, 1995). Discovered, edited and annotated Powell's diaries.
  • Dawn Powell: A Biography (Henry Holt, 1998). Author.
  • Selected Letters of Dawn Powell (Henry Holt, 1999). Editor.
  • Dawn Powell: Novels 1930–1942 and Dawn Powell: Novels 1944–1962 (Library of America, 2001). Editor.
  • The Unknown Sigrid Undset (Steerforth, 2001). Editor.
  • Glenn Gould: A Life In Pictures (Random House, 2002). Author.
  • Tim Page on Music (Amadeus Press, 2002). Collection of previously published work.
  • “What’s God Got to Do With It?”: Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk and the Separation of Church and State (Steerforth Press, 2005). Editor.
  • Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger's (Doubleday, 2009; reissued in 2010 with changes)
  • Carnegie Hall Treasures (HarperCollins,2011)


  1. ^ a b c d e USC Thornton School of Music
  2. ^ a b c The 1997 Pulitzer Prize Winners
  3. ^ Rockwell, John (March 30, 1979). "The Pop Life; 'Fusion,' WKCR and the Tomato label". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2012. (subscription required)
  4. ^ The Library of America: Dawn Powell Novels 1930–1942
  5. ^ Brubaker, Bruce "First Glass", ArtsJournal.com, June 22, 2009
  6. ^ Page, Tim (December 30, 2006). "A Brief Life, an Enduring Musical Impression". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Page, Tim. "Talented young musicians run the risk of burning out early", The Washington Post, December 30, 2011, accessed December 25, 2014
  8. ^ Page, Tim (July 11, 1999). "A Critic's Closing Lines: Tim Page, Leaving on A Fond & Hopeful Note". The Washington Post. p. G01. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ USC Annenberg School of Journalism
  10. ^ Page, Tim (August 20, 2007). "Parallel Play: A lifetime of restless isolation explained". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]