... a genius -- and now it's official. Warmest of congratulations to Alex Ross for being named one of 25 new MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipients today. Ross is one of four music-related prizewinners; the others are violinist Leila Josefowicz, jazz saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón, and composer-instrument builder Walter Kitundu. The New York Times has a complete list of winners.
Elsewhere, sadly, the news is far less sunny: Donald Rosenberg, the highly respected longtime critic of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has been told by management that he will no longer be allowed to cover the Cleveland Orchestra, for the crime of having been too critical toward Franz Welser-Möst, the orchestra's director.
Tim Smith, music critic for the Baltimore Sun (and president of the Music Critics Association of North America), broke the story on Friday afternoon. The comments under his post, both pro and con, are worth scanning. Tim Mangan at the OC Register blogged about Smith's story Monday, adding a valuable personal anecdote; Geoff Edgers at the Boston Globe blogged the story as well. That Welser-Möst has long been among the more uneven, frustrating leaders at a major American orchestra -- by all accounts, not just Rosenberg's, and by my own limited experience as well -- just makes a responsible professional's shabby treatment all the more upsetting.