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Music Critic Andrew Porter Dies

LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Andrew Porter, a celebrated music critic who wrote for the New Yorker, The Observer and The Financial Times, died in London from complications of pneumonia. He was 86.

A native of South Africa, the Oxford-educated Porter was best known for his long tenure at the New Yorker, serving as the magazine's music critic from 1972 to 1992.

Before his stint at the New Yorker, Porter made a name for himself writing criticism for a variety of newspapers, including The Times and the Financial Times, pushing the boundaries of contemporary criticism with long and elegant reviews that demonstrated Porter's deep command of the material.

"Nobody reviewing in America has anything like Porter's command of [opera]. Nor has The New Yorker ever before had access through music to so distinguished a mind," composer and critic Virgil Thomson wrote of Porter in 1974.

Porter was also a skilled musician, noted for his ability on the organ and for his music translation, such as the complete English rendition of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which was recorded by the English National Opera.

Porter was also recognized for the resurrection of a Verdi opera, "Don Carlos," parts of which were thought to be lost to history after being cut on the opera's opening night. Porter discovered an archival source in Paris and managed to reconstruct more than an hour of the opera that had not been heard since 1867.

“It was absolutely extraordinary to open the first violin part and find those pages,” he told Opera News in 2011. “I rushed out, bought a lot of music paper, and copied from the first violin part, then the second violin part, et cetera. And the vocal parts were there too, all the roles.”

He spent his final years in London and is survived only by his sister, Shiela Porter, the New York Times said. – Staff Writers