Martin Bernheimer, a classical music critic noted for witty, withering writing that won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1982, died Oct. 29 at his home in Manhattan. He was 83.
“Historically,” Mr. Bernheimer wrote in the Financial Times in 2008, “the best critics have guarded standards, stimulated debate and, in the complex process, reinforced the importance of art in society. They have been tastemakers, taskmasters and possibly ticket-sellers. Some have even written well.”
Mr. Bernheimer certainly did. He described Luciano Pavarotti as “the over-hype tenor of the century.” Of Lorin Maazel, he wrote, “He knows how to capitalize on his limitations.” Mr. Bernheimer joined The Los Angeles Times after spells at The New York Post, The Musical Courier and Saturday Review. He twice won the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for writing about music, in 1974 and 1978, and served on the faculties of the University of Southern California, the University of California/Los Angeles, and other nearby colleges. He appeared regularly on the Metropolitan Opera’s national radio broadcasts.