February 4, 2015

Andrew Patner (1959–2015), a noted art critic who attended the University of Chicago as student in the College (1980–82) and the Law School (1985–88), died suddenly Tuesday at 55. A native Chicagoan and a lifelong observer of the arts in the city, Patner was an astute critic who covered classical music, opera, theatre, dance, visual art, books, and film. He contributed to as a writer, interviewer, reporter, program host, and producer for media including the Chicago Sun-Times, WFMT, WBEZ, Chicago Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. The Chicago Sun-Times has posted an obituary.

Patner was also a longtime member of the University of Chicago’s Music and Humanities Visiting Committees. 

"Andrew was a great friend to the Music Department. Through his sheer brilliance and erudition, he provided a link between our scholarship and music-making and the full range of culture in the city and the rest of the world,” said Anne Robertson, Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music. "He thought, spoke and acted like the University of Chicago thinker he was, and he consistently supported all our important undertakings. His companionship as a member of the Music Visiting Committee was a rare gift, his loss is immeasurable.”

Last year, Patner played a key role in organizing “Let’s Get Working: Chicago Celebrates Studs Terkel,” a three day event at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts honoring the life and contributions of another great Chicago voice. It was one of the many ways in which Patner contributed to the vitality of the arts on campus and in the city.

"Andrew Patner was a life-long advocate of arts and culture at the University of Chicago,” said Martha Roth, Dean of the Division of the Humanities. "He was a mainstay of the Humanities Visiting Committee, always providing a thoughtful and crucial voice in conversations about literature, history, and the arts—in particular music. He was a shrewd and careful interviewer, with broad interests in all humanistic activities. Andrew was thrilled by the robust arts activities on campus in recent years, activities that have been advanced in no small part by his fierce advocacy."