Christopher Hyde Photo courtesy of Judith Hopkins

Christopher Hyde, a writer and former classical music critic for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, died June 2 after having been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Mr. Hyde wrote for the Portland newspapers for nearly 20 years as a columnist and classical music reviewer. In 2015, he started writing his own blog, maineclassicalbeat.com.

“He was a clear voice for Maine’s classical music community,” said James Morgan, vice president of the board of directors of Portland Ovations. “His appraisals as a writer and critic were thoughtful. Sometimes a fault was found, but you always knew he was rooting for the home team. He wanted to see organizations that bring good music and make good music in Maine succeed.”

Mr. Hyde reviewed shows across the state, including performances by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Portland Ovations, DaPonte String Quartet, Midcoast Symphony Orchestra and PORTopera.

“Chris’ contribution to the arts and music scene in Maine has meant a great deal to us,” Caroline Musica Koelker, executive director of Opera Maine, said in a statement. “His ability to capture the essence of a performance and put into words the feelings that music seeks to elicit will leave a long and lasting impression on our community. We are grateful to Chris and will miss him.”

In his blog, Mr. Hyde reviewed his final performance by pianists Henry Kramer and David Fung on April 5 at the Franco Center in Lewiston.

“The evening began with a performance by Fung of the Mozart Sonata No. 12 in F major, K.332, which was a highly polished gem,” Hyde wrote. “Virtually flawless in execution, it was classic in conception, remaining within Mozart’s characteristic dynamic range, but leaving space for just the right amount of Romanticism. The tempo was also just right, not too fast nor too slow to reveal the composer’s most brilliant ideas.”

Mr. Hyde was a loving husband to Judith Hopkins. They lived in Pownal.

His wife reminisced last week about meeting Hyde for the first time. Hopkins said she placed an ad in the Press Herald looking for someone to go out with and do things with. He was the 25th person to respond to her ad. She chuckled recalling the night he picked her up for dinner.

“He shows up in this Rabbit diesel held together with Bondo and chewing gum,” she said, noting he cleaned out his car especially for her. “He was quite the guy. He was such a gentle soul. He was so bright and so smart and so kind. And wicked sexy.”

Mr. Hyde played the piano and was passionate about art and literature. Hopkins said they lived on a farm where they raised chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs. They went to concerts and traveled to places such as Argentina, Quebec, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

“It was the best 21 years of my life,” she said. “We had a great life.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.