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Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote for the New York Times. His first book, `The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century', published in 2007, was awarded The Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer and Samuel Johnson prizes. In 2008 he became a MacArthur Fellow. A native of Washington, DC, he now lives in Manhattan
'Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues. This essay is Alex Ross's own chaconne, one that only he could have written -- a display of lateral thinking as virtuosic, in its own way. It alone is worth the price of the book, which I strongly encourage you to buy.' Sunday Telegraph 'One minute, you're immersed in Mozart, and then suddenly you're on tour with Radiohead and contemplating what it must have felt like for an unworldly Finnish conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, to take the reins of the LA Philharmonic. Reading the book is the literary equivalent of an iPod on shuffle; it offers fresh and unexpected stimulation at every turn.' Guardian 'The qualities that make him a top-notch critic become clearer in concentrated reading!Ross is an avowed buff. He loves music with a nerdish obsession and he wants you to love it as much as he does' New Statesman More praise for 'The Rest is Noise': 'He's written a brilliant, bracing account of all the different kinds of classical music that have permeated this last dark century. Such an entertaining, accessible and enthralling book.' Colin Greenwood (Radiohead bassist), Guardian 'Best of all are the moments when Ross really strikes you dumb with wonder, moments when the author's passion for the supreme significance of music raises his erudition to a new level. Warm, joyful and unfailingly adroit in his evocation of music in words, Ross, with this book, establishes himself as the supreme champion of modern music.' Sunday Times 'Gripping account of the last century.' Robert Sandall, Sunday Times (Book of the Year) 'Alex Ross's riveting survey of the perpetual revolution in classical music during the 20th century manages the difficult feat of illuminating key works of music without ever being dry or difficult. Ross's book teems with interest and is a triumph of synthesis.' Katie Owen, Sunday Telegraph 'This is an extraordinary book. The Rest is Noise performs the remarkable trick of making what may be considered abstruse musical matters widely accessible. It won the Guardian First Book award, and rightly so; it's the kind of book anyone can read who, as Beecham said about the English, doesn't know much about music but likes the noise it makes. Nicholas Lezard's Choice, The Guarduan 'Ross will whisk you on to the fast-moving train that was 20th-century music; he will fascinate, challenge and delight you.' Stephen Pritchard, Observer Music Monthly 'Print is silent. Which is why the task of writing about music is so difficult. I should therefore probably explain that the noise you now ought to be hearing is the sound of my hands as they stop typing and start applauding this vital, engaging, happily polyphonic book.' Peter Conrad, Observer 'A bracingly vivid exploration of the musical 20th century ! a crackingly paced narrative that will appeal as much to the musical neophyte as the classical buff ! wonderfully evocative.' The Times 'It would be hard to imagine a better guide to the maelstrom of recent music than Mr Ross ! He has an almost uncanny gift for putting music into words. No other critic writing in English can so effectively explain why you like a piece, or beguile you to reconsider it, or prompt you to hurry online and buy a recording.' The Economist 'Alex Ross has produced an introduction to twentieth-century music that is also an absorbing story of personalities and events that is also a history of modern cultural forms and styles that is also a study of social, political, and technological change. The Rest Is Noise is cultural history the way cultural history should be written: a single strong narrative operating on many levels at once. What more do you want from a book? That it be intelligently, artfully, and lucidly written? It's those things, too.' Louis Menand, author of 'The Metaphysical Club' 'This is the best general study of a complex history too often claimed by academic specialists on the one hand and candid populists on the other ! an impressive, invigorating achievement.' Washington Post 'He makes what once seemed rebarbative not only intelligible, provocative and stimulating but even beautiful. A Triumph.' Toby Clements, Telegraph