May 28, 2011
Alex Ross was born in 1968 and has been the music critic at The New Yorker magazine since 1996.
He graduated from Harvard University in English summa cum laude for a thesis on James Joyce, and was a DJ at college radio station, WHRB.
His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) was a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, and made the New York Times list of top ten best books of 2007.
He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for music writing, and a Holtzbrinck fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. In 2011 he will receive the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music at the pèlerinages Art Festival in Weimar.
His second book, Listen to This, was released in 2010 again by FSG. We met in Ottawa to talk about his approach to criticism, why he writes about music, and the connections he makes between classical, modern, popular and new music.