New Yorker columnist visits Chapman Hall to talk music, fantasy culture

Alex Ross has a job most people will only dream about, listening to music for a living. 

Then, on the side, he produces conversations about fantasy culture. As a part of his visit to campus next week, Ross will visit Chapman Hall on April 29 to talk to Clark Honors College students.  

Since 1996, Ross has written about the classical music scene for The New Yorker, eloquently putting words to the complex and emotive genre with an unparalleled passion.  

Previously a critic at The New York Times, Ross has written two books, “The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century” and “Listen to This,” which earned him multiple national awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.  

He publishes the progress of his third book, “Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music,” on his blog, sometimes accompanied by photos of his gorgeous cats Minnie and Bea. 

In an NPR interview from 2010, he spoke about writing for a living. “When I'm writing, I oscillate in stereotypical fashion between pleasure and agony, pride and self-disgust,” he said. “I can't say that any part of the job is all that difficult; it ain't exactly working in a coal mine. I feel supremely lucky to be making a living in this steadily shrinking field.” 

This week, he is visiting the University of Oregon, thanks to a collaboration between the German/Scandinavian department and the Oregon Bach festival, to talk about fantasy culture.  

"The German/Scandinavian department is thrilled to be hosting the nation's most prominent classical music critic, The New Yorker's Alex Ross, for our annual Gontrum Lecture. I can't wait to see how he'll link Wagnerian opera to Tolkien and Star Wars, and the questions he raises about the power, and the danger, of myth in today's fantasy films and popular culture are very timely," said Ian McNeely, the department head.  

The Gontrum Lecture will take place on Monday, April 29th at 6:15 pm in Straub Hall 156, after a reception at 5:45 pm in Straub 145.  

He will visit Chapman Hall earlier that day for a discussion with CHC students on April 29th from 10-11:30 am, in the Shepherd Family Library.  

Abbey McDonald, CHC Communications