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John Barry Steane (born 12 April 1928, Coventrymarker) is an Englishmarker music critic and musicologist, with a particular interest in singing and the human voice.

He attended Jesus Collegemarker, University of Cambridgemarker, where he studied English under A. P. Rossiter from 1948 to 1952. Upon graduating he became a teacher in Northwoodmarker, Middlesexmarker where he worked until 1988. His book Marlowe: A Critical Study was published in 1964; five years later he wrote the introduction to the Penguin edition of Christopher Marlowe's plays. He joined the staff of Gramophone in 1972; there he has worked mostly as a reviewer of recordings, both new and historical, of opera and other vocal music. In 1974 he published his book The Grand Tradition: Seventy Years of Singing on Record, 1900-1970 which covered the history of recorded singing. Nine years later he began writing articles and reviews for The Musical Times. He has also contributed many reviews and articles to Opera (from 1981) and Opera Now (from 1989), and he has authored numerous entries in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the New Grove Dictionary of Opera and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His Voices, Singers and Critics was published in 1992, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: A Career on Record (with Alan Sanders) in 1995, and his three-volume Singers of the Century appeared between 1996 and 2000.


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