Alex Ross


Mena Mark Hanna


Alex Ross
Wagner and his Others: Jewish, Black, Feminist, and Gay Wagnerians at the Fin-de-siècle

American author and music critic Alex Ross explores a fundamental ambiguity in Richard Wagner’s legacy: on the one hand, his notorious role as a fount and figurehead of nationalist, racist, and patriarchal values; and, on the other, his strong hold on the imaginations of writers and thinkers from marginalized groups. Tracing the spread of Wagnerian antisemitism in the late 19th-century alongside countervailing trends of Wagnerian decadence and eroticism, Ross weaves together the various strains of the composer’s complex legacy vis-à-vis the subaltern, portraying a Wagnerism that is more than the sum of its parts. 

Unfortunately, Alex Ross is unable to travel due to a potential exposure to Covid-19. He has agreed to deliver his lecture in a recording and will be joining the Q&A via live video call afterwards.

In English with simultaneous German translation. Headphones will be provided. A valid photo ID (or alternatively € 20) must be presented as a security deposit.

Alex Ross

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, the essay collection Listen to This, won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music, an account of the composer’s vast cultural impact, was published in 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US and by Rowohlt in Germany. Alex Ross has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the George Peabody Medal, the Belmont Prize, and an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Reading Recommendations

Alex Ross, Toscanini, Trump, and Classical Music as a Tool of Power, The New Yorker, July 12, 2017

Alex Ross, When the Genius is also a symbol of hate, where does that leave us?, The Harvard Gazette, April 18, 2018

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise (Blog)  

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise (Book)

Alex Ross, Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music (Book)