Alex Ross

Who

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.

Backstory

The Washington, D.C. native was ten when he bought his first LP: a recording of Austrian composer Anton Bruckner's 9th Symphony. Ross went on to compose classical music and played the piano and oboe, before enrolling at Harvard to study European history and English literature. While in Cambridge, he DJed for the college radio station and played keyboards in noise band Miss Teen Schnauzer. After dabbling in screenwriting for a spell, Ross started his music writing career with record reviews for Fanfare. A piece in the New Republic followed; impressed with his work, TNR's then-literary editor Leon Wieseltier helped Ross get a job as a music writer at the New York Times in 1992. While at the Times he wrote several pieces for The New Yorker, including Kurt Cobain's obituary, and decamped to the mag at Tina Brown's invitation in 1996.

On the side

Ross writes the popular music blog The Rest is Noise. His first book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, was published by FSG in October 2007. The book—which culturally contextualizes the past century of classical music, using "history to shine a light on the music, to show where the music came from, what is was up against, what it was reacting to"—was met with almost universal raves.

Personal

Ross lives in Chelsea with his husband, actor and director Jonathan Lisecki—they got married in Canada in 2005—and two cats, Maulina and Penelope.