Damian Thompson

Damian Thompson is an associate editor of The Spectator

Johannes Brahms, 1877 (Photo: Getty)

Late Brahms is wonderfully crafted - which is why it's so dull

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet begins, writes his biographer Jan Swafford, with ‘a gentle, dying-away roulade that raises a veil of autumnal…


Pope vs church - the anatomy of a Catholic civil war

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Francis’s haphazard reforms risk sparking a Catholic civil war


Why I’m glad my piano teacher spent more time chatting than teaching

17 October 2015 8:00 am

At the entrance to Marylebone railway station is an old piano that anyone can play. Unfortunately, whoever had this sweet…

Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on October 7, 2015 at the Vatican.  AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

This year, Catholic conservatives are ready for Pope Francis

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Where will Francis's Synod on the Family take the Church?

Gregory Peck

Right on the button

26 September 2015 9:00 am

When Brooks Brothers changed the style of their trademark button-down shirts, Damian Thompson was bereft. Then he discovered Mercer and Sons

Clara Schumann

There's a good reason why there are no great female composers

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Last week a 17-year-old girl forced the Edexcel exam board to change its A-level music syllabus to include the work…

Russian virtuoso pianist Jascha Spivakovsky, 1920 (Photo: Getty)

Jascha Spivakovsky: the great lost pianist we can finally hear

22 August 2015 9:00 am

William Kapell was an American concert pianist with the looks of a male model and the fingers of a wizard.…

After coming forth in the Tchaikovsky competition, Lucas Debargue is the only competitor anyone is talking about

The real winner in the Tchaikovsky competition is the man who came last

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Lucas Debargue, a 24-year-old French pianist, came fourth in the finale of the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow on 30 June,…

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is greeted by Pope Francis during the Ordinary Public Consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in February (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty)

The return of Benedict XVI

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Quietly, discreetly, the Pope Emeritus is offering a different vision to that of Pope Francis


Is this the greatest piano work of the 21st century?

20 June 2015 9:00 am

The award of a knighthood to the composer James MacMillan will have ruined last weekend for lots of unsavoury people:…


Oxford's new feminist hit squad

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Meet the power-crazed feminists stalking Oxford


2067: the end of British Christianity

13 June 2015 9:00 am

England’s churches are in deep trouble


The Heckler: why does John Eliot Gardiner have to be so rude?

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is talented almost beyond measure. His Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and stupidly named Orchestre Révolutionnaire…

Daniel Barenboim conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo: Getty)

Why Daniel Barenboim should be the next head of the Berlin Phil

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Daniel Barenboim is back in town: the South Bank is mounting a ‘Barenboim Project 2015’ in which he’s playing the…

Maria Callas recording an album for EMI at the Salle Wagram, Paris, in 1963. Photo: Robert Doisneau

The audio anoraks bringing the great vintage recordings back to life

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Damian Thompson on the audio anoraks rescuing some of the greatest recordings ever made


The spy who snubbed me: 007's Etonian side

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Putting the Etonian back into James Bond

Simon Rattle with the Berlin Phil at the Barbican. Photo: Mark Allan / Barbican

Classical music's greatest political butt-kissers: Dudamel, Gergiev and Rattle

14 February 2015 9:00 am

On 8 March 2013, Gustavo Dudamel stood by the coffin of the Marxist autocrat Hugo Chavez and conducted the Simon…


The march of the new political correctness

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Twenty-first century political correctness isn’t benign: it’s creepy and all too keen on witch-hunts


Confessions of an illegal downloader

24 January 2015 9:00 am

I’ve never been into shoplifting, though I once had a friend who was. And, no, before you ask, I’m not…


This ex-priest’s history of the gospels could unsettle the most faithful churchgoer

13 December 2014 9:00 am

When James Carroll was a boy, lying on the floor watching television, he would glance up at his mother and…

The serried ranks of an El Sistema youth orchestra in Caracas, 2012 — a ‘miracle’ that’s turned very sour

Classical music’s dirty little secret

6 December 2014 9:00 am

An explosive new book uncovers abuse at the heart of one of classical music’s most revered institutions. Damian Thompson investigates

Christian Blackshaw Photo: Herbie Knott

Is this 65-year-old British pianist the next big thing in classical music?

29 November 2014 9:00 am

Earlier this month the Wigmore Hall was sold out for a Schubert recital by a concert pianist whose only solo…

The erotic Mary, left, by Gregor Erhart (c.1515–20) and the penitent Mary, right, by El Greco (c.1577)

No one in the Bible has been as elaborately misrepresented as Mary Magdalene

22 November 2014 9:00 am

A bogus history book and a new oratorio turn Mary Magdalene into the wife of Jesus and a human rights activist. Damian Thompson feels sorry for the poor woman


Watch out Pope Francis: the Catholic civil war has begun

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Uncertainty over how much reform Pope Francis wants is splitting his church into factions

Composer Alexander Glazunov Photo: Getty

The drunk conductor who ruined Rachmaninov’s career

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Would musical history have turned out differently if Alexander Glazunov hadn’t been smashed out of his wits when he conducted…