Alex Ross, born in 1968, has been music critic for The New Yorker since 1996. He writes about classical music, from the Metropolitan Opera to the contemporary avant-garde, and has also written essays on literature, history, visual art, film, and ecology. His first book, “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century,” a cultural history of music since 1900, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, the essay collection “Listen to This,” won the ascap-Deems Taylor Award. His most recent book is Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, a treatise on Wagner’s enormous cultural influence. He has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.