He is the author of an article in the February issue of Opera News titled “Discomfort Zone,” which deals with opera and political correctness. That is where I first read anything written by him, to my knowledge – admittedly, I don’t always notice the byline. It is the first time in a long time, outside of a few books, that I have been blown away by someone’s writing. It’s not that he just has good content in the article, and he does have good content, but this guy can write! After reading the article, I had to look him up. According to Wikipedia, he has been recognized for his work by a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and has received nominations for criticism in 2012 and one for editorial writing in 2000. He is the chief Art and Architecture Critic of the Washington Post. He has studied piano and graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1988 with a degree in philosophy. His knowledge of his subject matter is impressive. I am just starting to pay attention to his work, but glancing at his list of articles there appears to be a theme of the relationship of trends in society and trends in the arts, covering the arts and society broadly and sometimes opera specifically.
I will be discussing the “Discomfort Zone” and its theme in a follow up post. I have added Mr. Kennicott to the Opera Info tab – Critics page. To see other articles by Mr. Kennicott, visit https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/philip-kennicott, and to see his blog go to http://philipkennicott.com. Keep an eye out for him as you are reading your morning Post. I think he may fall in the category of a treasure.