Welcoming Richard An, our new Editor In Chief
I am extremely excited to share the news that, as of May 1, Richard An has taken over the reigns as New Classic LA’s editor in chief.
When I started New Classic LA fourteen years ago the new classical and experimental scenes in Los Angeles—while boasting a healthy number of shows and events—felt extremely disconnected and decentralized. I felt this was detrimental to the health of the music community. People who attended recitals on the west side had no idea what upstart musicians, composers, ensembles, and concert producers were doing in DIY venues, and the folks attending those experimental shows rarely showed up for stuff at Disney Hall and Colburn, even though the music seemed, to me, to be of interest to similar audiences.
In college I’d written for the show calendar site San Diego Punk, and figured a unified calendar would be a helpful way for people to find out about each others’ events and work. I was also new in town as a composer, and wanted to meet people and get free tickets to stuff I could write about. So one quiet afternoon at work I put up a calendar page.
The requests for coverage of events came in almost immediately. Throughout the 2010s New Classic LA served as a central calendar site, particularly for the new music community (whatever that term might mean), and I started bringing on friends and volunteers to write reviews and interview musicians and members of the scene on what they were up to. It was great! I think at the peak we had like 10 or so people writing for us on a volunteer basis.
Then life took over. I moved away from LA for another round of grad school, and found keeping things up to date very challenging. When I moved back I needed a job, and my duties running the concert series/organization Equal Sound were taking up most of my non-composing, non-rent-paying attention. The site floundered, and looked abandoned and empty for quite a while. When the pandemic hit, I thought that was the end for its time, and even reached out to a few libraries about archiving it.
Now that we are back to shows, everything again seems to be bifurcated. Yet I’ve had many friends—many of whom I met through New Classic LA—tell me they wished the site was still alive, so they could find interesting music outside of their immediate circles or local geography (which, as all of us Angelenos know, is a top-of-mind concern). I wished that too, and did not want New Classic LA to die, but knew that I didn’t have the resources in my life to run it anymore.
Enter Richard An. We met through seeing each other at shows relatively often, and interacting on social media. Richard seemed to be involved in everything. He is one of the rare Los Angeles musicians who went to both USC and Cal Arts, and is equally at home performing challenging, virtuosic music or creating avant garde sound sculptures. Further, he is an assistant director or associate of a rather large number of organizations, and runs an ensemble. He is connected, talented, and, as I’ve realized through our conversations, has the foresight, wisdom, and sensitivity to oversee New Classic LA’s growth into a central resource for our scene. He’s also a super nice guy. More about Richard is on his website, richardanmusic.com.
I am stepping into a background role to be of help when needed, but he is now the person in charge that the site has needed for quite some time. I hope you will join me in welcoming Richard, and are as excited as I am to see what he does with New Classic LA.
With endless gratitude to all of you who visit this site and make our scene what it is,
Founder, former editor in chief, New Classic LA
P.S. Go to shows!