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John Rockwell

John Rockwell
John Rockwell at the 2015 EMP Pop Conference
Born 1940
Washington D.C.

John Rockwell (born 1940 in Washington D.C.) is a music critic, editor, arts administrator, and dance critic. He studied at Phillips Academy, Harvard, the University of Munich, and the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Ph.D. in German cultural history.

Rockwell began his journalistic career at the Oakland Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. In 1972 he began writing at the New York Times, first as a classical music critic and reporter, then also as the paper's chief pop music critic, and, from 1992 to 1994, as the European cultural correspondent. Between 1994 and 1998, he served as the first director of the Lincoln Center Festival. He returned to the New York Times to become the editor of the paper's Sunday Arts and Leisure section. In 2004 he was named the chief dance critic. He left the Times at the end of 2006 to pursue independent projects.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Linda Mevorach. Their daughter, Sasha, teaches in Shanghai.

In January 2008, John Rockwell was a Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin. He is a Chevalier of the French Order of Arts & Letters.


On WNYC Radio, Rockwell examined cultural topics and events in the news for his weekly Monday night segment, Rockwell Matters. from October 2007 until May 2008 (Archives can be heard online.)
Rockwell is interviewed by Charles Amirkhanian on KPFA following the publication of his book “All American Music: Composition of the late 20th Century” 1983


  • All American Music, Knopf (1983) ISBN 0-394-51163-8.
  • Sinatra: An American Classic, Random House (1984) ISBN 0-394-53977-X.
  • The Idiots, BFI (2003) ISBN 0-85170-955-9.
  • Outsider: John Rockwell on the Arts, Limelight (2006) ISBN 0-87910-333-7
  • "The Times of the Sixties" (editor), Black Dog and Leventhal (2014) ISBN 1579129641

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