Today is my last day at Time Out Chicago. I helped launch the magazine three years ago and spent that time creating a section where readers could turn for informed reporting and criticism, and listings that were fun to read instead of a chore. At the launch party, one veteran Chicago journalist asked, "Mr. Geelhoed, what will you write about week after week?"
"Well," I said. "There are lots of chamber groups and new ensembles being formed that have never been written about. So I'll write about them."
"There's only so many of them. What will you do then?"
"I'll find something." I'm proud to say that I've done that for 156 issues. My last article will be published February 21.
I'm joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to work on its record label, CSO Resound. My title will be CSO Resound coordinator, and I'll be responsible for working with each of the administrative departments to get the discs and downloads made more cheaply, efficiently, selling in greater quantities, along with helping determine what will be recorded. I look forward to working with and advancing the priorities of a major orchestra, instead of chronicling them.
I'll miss writing, and having a platform to express myself. I'll miss the sense of power that comes from being able to get John Adams and Pierre Boulez on the phone (what I call "the right to pester people"), and I'll miss the minor celebrity of being a young music critic. At the same time, being able to exert some influence over the CSO's recordings is far from negligible , and I think we'll be able to tackle the challenges facing classical albums and devise creative solutions.
DecSimp will live on. It'll take a different tone, with no reviews whatever, and no words that can be construed as the CSO either praising or criticizing another musician. Maybe I'll write more pieces about works of music, and start posting more about running and fitness. I don't know what it will look like, but it won't be dull.
I have some regrets about leaving the magazine. I never interviewed Esa-Pekka Salonen or Yefim Bronfman, and there are still numerous Chicago musicians who have never been featured in Time Out. There are still plenty of stories out there waiting to be written.
I'd like to thank all those musicians who started an ensemble, or put on a concert on an impossibly tiny budget, or sang a recital, and who work so hard to achieve their goals. You made my life deeply enjoyable, and I will always admire performers whose passion is to weave music into the fabric of the lives of others. In a world that cares little about art and less about beauty, you have the courage to make the world a better, more fulfilling, place.
Photo from Time Out Chicago launch party, March 4, 2005. The caption, by Andrew Patner, reads "Clare [sic] and Marc, non-date date."