Magazine October 28, 2019, Issue

A Critic’s Critic

Martin Bernheimer lectures to music students at San Diego State University. (University Archives Photo Collection / Library Special Collections / San Diego State University)

Everyone is unique, we are taught in kindergarten. That is a fine sentiment. But can we acknowledge that some are uniquer than others? Martin Bernheimer was virtually the uniquest. He was a great critic, of music in particular. He had a first-class mind and a first-class pen. But he was also one of the most extraordinary personalities you’ll ever meet.

I will supply some biographical information, before getting to the guts of Martin.

He was born in Munich in 1936 — a ticklish time and a ticklish place for such a boy. The family made it out. Martin grew up in Massachusetts.

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