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Home > Author Archives: Alex Ross

Author Archives: Alex Ross

Mahler still grooves

Mahler still grooves Click on the photo to enlarge it. Zach Smith, who was responsible for a rash of Mahlerian graffiti in Washington, DC in the late seventies and early eighties, sent me this picture taken in the fall of 1977, showing his handiwork on the base of the Arizona Avenue Trestle. In a 1995 article for The New Yorker, I related how the graffiti caught my eye as I rode a school bus back ... Read More »

Astrid Varnay at 100

Astrid Varnay at 100 The great Swedish-American soprano would have been one hundred today. Her centenary is receiving considerably less hoopla than that of her compatriot Birgit Nilsson, which arrives on May 17. Indeed, as far as I can tell, it is receiving no hoopla at all. This is a pity, because Varnay was to my way of thinking the deeper, more substantial artist. I couldn't really construct a rational argument to contest the claim ... Read More »

The Russell Platt era ends

The Russell Platt era ends There was much melancholy in the corridors of The New Yorker last week as Russell Platt, the editor of our classical-music listings, bade farewell after eighteen brilliant years on the job. Russell is a gifted and accomplished composer, and has decided to devote his primary energies to writing music. A symphony may be in the offing. He also recently married the bassoonist Peter Kolkay —congratulations, both! — who is on the ... Read More »

For Cecil Taylor

For Cecil Taylor One of the greatest, most unswervingly original, most incorrigibly sublime figures in the recent history of music died today, a few days after his eighty-ninth birthday. I got to see him several times in performance; the first time, in 1989, at the Western Front in Cambridge MA, was one of my indelible listening experiences. I made a poor attempt to write about him in 1998; I will let others sum up his ... Read More »

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