Mark Swed

Mark Swed has been the classical music critic of the Los Angeles Times since 1996. Before that, he was a music critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Wall Street Journal and has written extensively for international publications. Swed is the author of the book-length text to the best-selling iPad app, “The Orchestra,” and is a former editor of the Musical Quarterly. He was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in criticism.
  • Critic's Notebook
When Aretha sang opera at the Grammys, she renewed a beloved aria that had become a cliche

When Franklin stepped in to sing "Nessun Dorma" for an ailing Pavarotti, her version was more cover than classical, but it felt thrillingly true to the spirit of Puccini. A classical critic's take on the night Aretha sang from "Turandot."

L.A. Phil's new YOLA Center: Why a youth concert hall in Inglewood has global implications

Our critic looks at plans for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Frank Gehry-designed YOLA Center,  unveiled Wednesday, which promises to educate the underserved, bring more children of color into the classical music world and be an international example of music as a means to bridge divides.