Listen To This–IPAP Authors React to Alex Ross’s Latest

December 1, 2011

For at least a century, (classical) music has been captive to a cult of mediocre elitism that tries to manufacture self-esteem by clutching at empty formulas of intellectual superiority. –Alex Ross, pg. 3 (Listen To This)

Beginning today, December 1st, there will be posts centered around “Listen To This” the recent essay collection by Alex Ross, which is now newly available in paperback.  We will be posting reaction pieces to various chapters and/or overarching issues from the book, starting with our authors’ varied reactions to Mr. Ross’s expansive first chapter “Listen To This: Crossing the Border from Classical to Pop.” In this chapter, Mr. Ross’s embrace of the sentiment ‘music is music’ allows us to blur our preconceived notions of genre and the expectations that can arise out of how we choose to “box in” that genre.

We will also be sharing several posts on the chapter “Learning the Score:  The Crisis in Music Education” shortly.

The book can be found at Amazon here:

or here for the Kindle edition:

You may also find the book at your local public library and/or independent bookseller.

We look forward to having you further the conversation with us!

Laura Lentz for IPAP

5 Responses to “Listen To This–IPAP Authors React to Alex Ross’s Latest”

  1. Alan Tormey Says:

    This looks to be a really fun project! I can’t wait to read everybody’s thoughts.

  2. This is a wee bit old, is it not? I reas this book quite some time ago. Alex Ross has to be considered to be the dean of American music critics, what with the passing of Alan Rich. I am sure that different people have their own favorites.

  3. Laura Lentz Says:

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the comment. We’re writing these posts to correspond with the release of the paperback version, which comes out in these days.
    We would love to have you join us in the conversation.

  4. Well, Laura, to quote Elvis, “Thankyou very much.” I was unaware of the paperback release.

    After “The Rest Is Noise”, when this one came out, I just grabbed it. Alex Ross has an amazing perspective for someone so young. I used both of his books as textual guides to help me purchase music. I see that my MusicSprings blog is in your blog role. I just did a big post on the American Mavericks project at Minnesota Public Radio from a few years ago. I did the same thing with that material, as I described in the post. People like Kyle Gann, Philip Blackburn of American Composers Forum, Alex Ross and the late Alan Rich are few and far between.

    I am not a musician nor do I have any musical background, except what I got at home as a kid, which was a lot from about Beethoven through Copland; and what I got from John Schaefer at WNYC for the last 30 years, and still get, and the great mighty and awe-inspiring Q2 New Music stream from New York Public Radio. I only spew forth all of this to say that we all need thoughtful teachers. Nadia Sirota on Q2 is simply amazing, encyclopaedic in her knowledge,. Alex Ross is to my mind in this day simply the best, the top of the heap. I see his blog, I read him in The New Yorker. If I cannot use today what I see, somewhere down the road it will be important to me. He writes with equal clarity about Mahler and Muhly. That’s quite a load.

  5. Laura Lentz Says:

    Hi Richard,
    I should also mention that our wanting to look at the ideas raised in ‘Listen To This’ came out of a dialogue between some of us authors recently. We had exchanged some emails in how we’ve been defining classical music on the blog, and we wanted to have the opportunity to discuss more in depth how we think about classical music…and Alex Ross’s book, and in particular his opening chapter, gave us the opportunity to not only have a dialogue amongst ourselves, but also with readers who could continue the conversation and ideas further.
    Thanks so much for your comments here, and we look forward to hearing more from you on the other posts as well.
    All best,

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