At Least One Genius Works For The New Yorker

Hamilton Nolan · 09/23/08 08:13AM

The MacArthur Foundation announced its annual Genius Grants today—those no-strings-attached, five year, $500,000 awards that let the best among us pursue their science or art or writing free from the cares of the working world. And look who got one: Alex Ross, the classical music critic for the New Yorker! Ross is certainly deserving when it comes to smarts, if not to finance (he won't be quitting the NYer for a mere 100K per year). But genius knows no financial criteria, despite the jealousy of the poors! Ross says he'll use the cash to help him write his next book, upgrade his website, and "launch some home improvements." God, geniuses are the luckiest people ever. [FBNY]

Alex Ross

cityfile · 01/25/08 11:30PM

The New Yorker's classical music critic and a music blogger, Ross is known for his intelligent writing about both classical music and modern pop.

Career Case Studies: Alex Ross

Choire · 10/10/07 12:40PM

New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross as career case study for the youngsters: "Ross started writing freelance reviews for Fanfare, a classical music magazine, which paid him $2 for each review.... Eventually, Mr. Ross says, he got a piece in The New Republic.... [TNR literary editor Leon] Wieseltier helped Ross get hired by The New York Times in 1992 as a 24-year-old stringer, writing about classical music for the culture desk. He was paid $80 for each piece (and people complain about The Times' stinginess today!). 'Of course, I was only paying $675 a month in rent,' he said. While at The Times, Mr. Ross got his first piece in The New Yorker. 'Louis Menand and Adam Gopnik were culture editors at the time, and they had been reading my pieces in The Times,' he explained. 'I wrote one piece a year for four years'—including the obituary for Kurt Cobain, because the magazine didn't have a popular music critic on staff. He was hired as the magazine's classical music critic in 1996."

Choire · 10/05/07 09:20AM

"The Rest Is Noise," New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross's history of the 20th century, is now all printed up. (The book will be released on October 16th.) And what's this we see on the back cover? Blurbs from the likes of lit critic Louis Menand and the author of The Oxford History of Western Music and... BJORK?! Not to be a geek-nerd-spaz, but you probably couldn't win more points in the Great Blurb Competition that is our modern age if Nina Simone had blurbed the book from beyond the grave.

The Fat Lady Sings For Luciano Pavarotti

abalk · 09/06/07 01:30PM

Luciano Pavarotti, the outsized Italian tenor generally regarded as the finest operatic voice of his generation, has passed away at the age of 71. Best known by the general audience as the fattest guy in the Three Tenors, Pavarotti had a storied career which saw him achieve almost every measure of operatic success. He also starred in one the most unintentionally funny movies we've ever seen, 1982's Yes, Giorgio, and performed with Bono, Sting, and Elton John, which must have sucked. Pavarotti had a special relationship with audiences at the Metropolitan Opera.

Everyone Has An iPhone But You

Choire · 07/05/07 09:05AM

"You may have heard something about the iPhone in the media," writes New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross on his blog. No, we have not! What is this "iPhone"? Okay truth be told, I stopped by the iStore on iFifth Avenue on Tuesday and half-heartedly tried to iBuy one but there were all these grimy tourists touching the iPhones, a mob scene of all colors and creeds and also all colors and creeds of fannypacks, sort of like as if "It's A Small World" had come to life and exploded in gross technolust and I was so turned off that I had to run out of the store. Anhyoo, Mr. Ross is embarking on a brave experiment: he is leaving for Munich this week without his iPod or his iBook or his non-iCellphone, with only his iPhone to keep him in communication and also iEntertained. Dollars to donuts that this ends up in some kind of tears, right? Also, his address book ranges from "Abramovich to Zalewski." Hmm. Daniel Zalewski, New Yorker editor, sure: but who is this "Abramovich"?