PART 1: Alex Ross '90 in conversation with Victoria Aschheim '10

by Victoria Aschheim

Earlier this year, Alex Ross '90 received an honorary doctorate from New England Conservatory in Boston. Ross has been music critic of the New Yorker since 1996, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, and is author of The Rest is Noise, winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism and of the 2008 Guardian First Book Award, among many other honors. Ross has served as a McGraw Professor in Writing at Princeton University.Praise for The Rest is Noise has been superlative. Ross has been described by Zachary Lewis as "the most elegant, poetic, and humorous voice in the world of music criticism today," presenting music "as an exciting phenomenon vitally related to broader political and social developments…[He] grasps music on a profound composer-like level." Louis Menand, Harvard Professor of English and the History of American Civilization, has expressed that Ross "has produced an introduction to 20th century music which is also an absorbing story of the history of modern cultural forms and styles which includes social, political, and technological change." Menand said that The Rest is Noise is "a cultural history the way cultural history should be written: a single strong narrative operating on many levels at once." Emanuel Ax said: "In words that are beautiful, passionate, witty, and utterly compelling, Alex Ross has written a true rarity – a book about music that makes you want to run and listen to every note he talks about. A masterpiece." Profound acknowledgment for a profound scholar of American music.Harvard Arts Beat congratulates Ross on his new doctorate and is honored to present him in a series of interviews, which will be posted here throughout this week. [] []