I never fail to consult the Berkshire Review without being impressed by the responsiveness, sympathy, and understanding informing its contents. Perhaps above all, the Review takes the arts – from theater production to fiction, from film to music – as having values aside from those of commercial entertainment, values that have to do with what it means to be human, and what it might mean to be more human. When practised at this level, criticism, too, is one of the arts.—Paul Griffiths
New York Arts—a presenting organization, as well as a continually updated (2 to 5 or more times a week) online arts journal—began life in the spring of 2011 as the sister magazine of The Berkshire Review for the Arts, which itself was launched in 2007. The Berkshire Review was a response to the superb music, theater, dance, and art in North America’s oldest and finest cultural resort and the need for more acute and engaging critical voices in the region.
At the time (and today) the traditional sources for arts criticism—the major print dailies, weeklies, and monthly magazines—responded to economic pressures by either re-assigning or dismissing full-time arts writers and cutting back on freelancers. Plays, concerts, exhibitions, etc. should in fact be part of a community’s daily news, but newspapers no longer consider this a priority. Arts criticism has moved to a variety of specialized online magazines and blogs based all around the world. Given the low costs and unlimited space of online publishing, The Berkshire Review was able to make a virtue of necessity and provide serious lovers of the arts with more probing writing than traditional media, as it expanded its network of writers to several centers around the globe: Sydney, San Francisco, Boston, London, Paris, Rome, and Venice—and of course New York.
By early 2011 it was clear that New York City was becoming increasingly central to The Berkshire Review, and New York Arts was launched.
Both publications have attracted a wide international audience and a warm response among artists and audiences alike. Here are some comments:
“The Review is a major cultural resource–and one distinguished by its quality of writing; I’d hate not to receive it.”
— David Porter, President Emeritus, Skidmore College
“Your writing demonstrated passion, conceptual depth, integrity and imagination – and, above all, an eagerness to learn more and stretch your approach to theater with a brave and conscientious zeal.”
— Sasha Anawalt, Director of Arts Journalism Programs, USC Annenberg Arts Journalism Programs
“Yes, I very much enjoyed reading this piece, and I salute your publication for actually doing real criticism, just about disappeared from these parts.” — D. Kern Holoman, Professor of Music, University of California, Davis.
“The (Online) Berkshire Review for the Arts–with an Emphasis on ‘for'” (from the blog musicology)
Last year a marvelous new source came online for reliable and well-written reviews of musical performances, as well as theater, art exhibits, and (promised for the future) books–including books on music.
It’s called The Berkshire Review for the Arts.
Note the preposition “for.” The editor, Michael Miller (who has taught courses in classics and in art history at Williams College and New York University) is absolutely devoted to the performing and visual arts. I knew him back in college days and already recognized in him one of those devoted, discerning music lovers that performers know are “out there” listening attentively.
As the “for” in its title suggests, the Berkshire Review tries to draw attention to major artistic effort and achievement, not to tear it down for the greater glory of the smug critic (as sometimes occurs in, say, concert reviews in daily newspapers).
In another respect, though, the Berkshire Review is perhaps misleadingly named. Though based in Western Massachusetts, it reports on events occurring far beyond. Michael Miller himself regularly travels to Boston and New York for events of significance (such as Alfred Brendel’s farewell concert). Various correspondents […] send in dispatches from England and even Australia.
— Ralph P. Locke, Professor of Musicology, Eastman School of Music; Senior Editor, Eastman Studies in Music, writing on Dial “M” for Musicology, July 9, 2008
My plan was to transfer our base of operations to New York, and this was finally realized just before the New Year. Beyond the central focus on New York City, there will be other changes. There will be some design improvements, especially for readers who like to use the site as a table of contents and print out individual articles for reading. We will also reactivate our preview section, emphasizing events off the main track, which might escape the notice of the more familiar sources.
It is now possible to make tax-deductible contributions through Fractured Atlas, a non-profit organization founded to support the arts. Please give generously.
April 26, 2018
I am very pleased to announce some exciting changes at New York Arts—or, rather, the restoration of a program included in our initial mission statement. There it said that New York Arts would “no longer be only a critical arts journal, but a sponsor of exhibitions, concerts, and other performances.” This began with an invitational event combining a showing of old master drawings and a concert of baroque music (Bach, Handel, Telemann, et. al.) played by Paula Robison, Kenneth Cooper and others in the Fabbri Mansion (House of the Redeemer) on the Upper East Side. There followed another multi-disciplinary event, a reading of poems by W. B. Yeats, Lloyd Schwartz, Senior Editor at New York Arts, one of America’s outstanding poets, who has done extensive research on Yeats, with traditional Irish music for flute and fiddle in conjunction with an exhibition of Michael Miller’s views of the Irish landscape, monuments, and people at the Centerpoint Gallery in Chelsea. Back at the Fabbri Mansion, there was an admirable recital by Stephen Porter on the mansion’s Grotrian-Steinweg (ca. 1900), entitled “Late Style,” with works by Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin, and Schubert.
For a variety of reasons, there has been a gap in these presentations, but now they will begin again with increased frequency and energy. In addition to the diverse events—in some cases combining different arts, following the interests of the magazine: music, opera, theater, dance, art, photography, architecture and urban design, local history, and food and drink—there will also be traditional concerts like Stephen Porter’s, theatrical performances, readings, exhibitions, and symposia. Our publication will offer articles amplifying these events and the issues they raise, as well as the familiar reviews and interviews related to local as well as national and international performances and exhibitions.
With this double mission, we at New York Arts hope to to play a vital role in the arts community in the city, second to none in its energy, diversity, and level of achievement.
New York Arts
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New York, New York
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