Photo: Annette Hornischer

Cultural Critic, New York

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2008


John Rockwell was born in Washington state, and was raised there, in Berlin, and in San Francisco. After his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and the University of Munich, Rockwell received his PhD in German cultural history from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1972 to 2006, he was a journalist at the New York Times, where he served as a classical music critic, chief rock critic, classical music editor, and European cultural correspondent. Rockwell has also pursued several independent projects. He was the founding director of the Lincoln Center Festival, where he worked from 1994 to 1998, and is the author of several music, film, and cultural review books, among them Outsider: John Rockwell on the Arts, 1967-2006 (Limelight Editions, 2006), a collection of his best pieces that the Times has called “judicious, knowledgeable, generous and balanced.” Rockwell returned to the New York Times for four years in 1998, as editor of the Sunday arts section and arts columnist and, in 2005 to 2006, as chief dance critic. He is also the board chairman of the National Arts Journalism Program, and broadcasts a weekly arts review program on WNYC-FM, the New York Public Radio station. Rockwell is a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and has served on the advisory boards of the University California, Berkeley, and Harvard University.