Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

cardigan 350Eminent music critic to write for HOT

HOT’s coverage of classical music in Hastings will be significantly improved with the addition of music critic Dr Brian Hick to our roster of writers. As well as allowing us to republish pieces from the Lark Reviews website which he set up, Brian will also write original articles for us, covering matters such as Barefoot Opera’s people’s opera project, Bloom Britannia.

Music critic Dr Brian Hick has been writing professionally for over 45 years across a wide range of publications. Born in Shrewsbury in 1945, he trained at Birkbeck College and The Drama Centre, London, having previously worked in the BBC Music Library and in theatre. His first regular appointment as a music critic was with the Surrey Mirror, and when he moved to Hastings in 1980 he worked as a freelance for Hastings Observer, for whom he still writes on a regular basis.

“When I started writing as a music critic we were quite well paid but over the years this has unfortunately lapsed and the position of professional critic, in an age of instant feedback on line, is far more precarious. Some colleagues are still employed full time by national papers but the majority of us are at best freelance and often unpaid entirely, despite many years of professional experience.”

It was the move to Sussex which put him in touch with Denby Richards, then editor of Musical Opinion – the oldest English music magazine still being published – and Brian started to write regularly for him, becoming a feature writer as well as reviewer. He frequently sub-edited the magazine and ran the supplement for a number of years.

Editor of The Organ

When the editor of The Organ invited Denby Richards to take back the magazine which it had founded in 1921, Brian was invited to become editor, which he did for 15 years, and is currently editor emeritus.

Alongside his writing, he has directed opera, theatre and musicals, including the first modern revival of Kipling’s The Harbour Watch and the world premiere of Ken Robert’s Quel Weekend. For First Act Opera he directed La Boheme and Carmen and a string of musicals for the Bexhill Light Operatic and Dramatic Society.

For five years he was editor of The Liberal Christian Herald and currently runs the music review site Lark Reviews. I realised some years ago that reviews were taking too long to reach readers,” he says. “Quarterly magazines were always at least three months out of date and reviews might not get in for up to six months. At a time when online reviews could appear the next morning this was obviously not going to attract new readers.

“As a result I set up Lark Reviews to bring local reviews and a spread of national events to more immediate notice. The same is true of communication about events where, even today, it is often difficult to find out in advance just what is on.”

Critics Circle

He is a member of the Critics Circle and has presented illustrated talks on Handel at the Buxton and Three Choirs Festivals. He holds a doctorate in education from Sussex University and his parallel career has been within education, spending the last 20 years as a senior consultant with Education London and Russell Education Trust.

Alongside his critical writing he has published a number of books on music, including the three volumes of Organs of 1066 Country and the Hastings Snetzler for the rebuilding of which he acted as historian and consultant. He has had poems published in a number of national anthologies as well as his individual collections of poems which are still in print.

His most recent publication, to be released on 27 April, is Wyon in Hastings, which traces the building of St John the Evangelist, Hollington, through the diaries of Rev Rose Fuller Whistler and architect Edward Alexander Wyon, giving a fascinating snap-shot of life in Victorian Hastings.


More details at Lark Reviews.




Posted 14:51 Friday, Mar 29, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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