Richard M. Dyer '63

Richard Dyer served as chief music critic of the Boston Globe from 1973 to 1976.  Born in Mineral Wells, Texas, he grew up in Enid, Oklahoma and Hiram, Ohio.  He graduated from Hiram College, summa cum laude, in 1963 having majored in English with a minor in French.  An opera buff from the age of 10, he was also trained as a pianist, studying with Beatrice Erdely of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and with Jacqueline Eymar (from 1961-62) at the Institute of European Studies in Paris.  During that year in France, he attended the final cours d'interpretation of Alfred Cortot at L'ecole normale de musique.

After completing a Master's Degree at Harvard University, Dyer taught at the University of Iowa in the English department, returning to Harvard to complete his Ph.D. in 1973. While working on his dissertation on Oliver Goldsmith, he "made an unexpected sidestep into journalism," as he puts it, succeeding outgoing critic Michael Steinberg at the Boston Globe.  His surprise entry into the world of classical music criticism came as a result of a dazzling debut article he wrote, published in the New York Times in April 1973, about the artistic decline of soprano Renata Tebaldi. He was immediately enlisted as a regular contributor to the Globe and then took over the permanent position when Steinberg left to join the staff of Boston Symphony.

During his three decades at the Globe, Dyer twice won the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for Distinguished Music Criticism. Along with reviews, features, columns, and news stories about music, he also wrote regularly about books and served a year as a film critic. He was frequently invited to write for other publications including the New Grove Dictionaries of Music, American Music and Opera, the Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia of Opera, and Encyclopedia Americana. He contributed articles to Britain's Opera Magazine, Opera News, High Fidelity, the Gramophone, Musical America, and The Nation.

Dyer also wrote liner notes for Sony Classical, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Westminster Classics, New World Records and RCA Victor. He was also asked to write program notes for the Metropolitan Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony, and the San Francisco Opera.

Dyer's comprehensive knowledge of piano and operatic literature has made him a valued member of panels and competition juries. He gives regular presentations on historic pianists and singers. He has served on the jury of Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Cleveland Piano Competition.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Salem State College.

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