The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: New York Times classical music editor – and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus – James Oestreich takes a buyout and will leave the Times.

January 26, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

I guess the same web-inspired blood-letting that drove The Ear out of the Madison-based print media continues.

In yet another round of buyouts, The New York Times, is seeking to have 30 employees retire.

Among those accepting a buyout this time is someone of local interest: Classical Music Editor James Oestreich (below). He is of local interest because he was born and raised in Wisconsin (I think the Appleton area) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa (sorry, I don’t know his major) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965.

james oestreich

In fact, one of his professors was John W. Barker, the emeritus professor of medieval history who now also reviews music for Isthmus and for this blog.


Here are several links to stories relating to James Oestreich:

Here is a link to the Wikipedia entry about James Oestreich with a good summary of his career, which includes stints with other organizations and being a concert notes writer:

Here is a link to the New York Observer with some facts and context surrounding the overall picture, including how many buyouts are needed before layoffs begin:

And here is a link to a blog that includes both high praise from colleagues and competitors as well as sharp criticism (for ignoring current or new trends) of James Oestreich’s tenure at The New York Times:

And here is a link to some harsh words from famous and snarky critic Norman Lebrecht (below) along with the farewell letter that Oestreich himself wrote:


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