Puccini on the 'Puter

Classical-music nerd shows he's hip after all.

Classical music isn't dead; it's just gone digital. And the proof is in Amazon.com's MP3 sales in October, when sales of works by classical composer Richard Wagner trumped Kanye West's rap tunes. "If, as people say, the internet is a paradise for geeks, it would logically work to the benefit of one of the most opulently geeky art forms in history," writes The New Yorker music critic Alex Ross in his new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which boasts a jacket recommendation from — ready for this? — Björk.During his "iPod talk" tonight at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ross will punch up examples from his personal playlist of modern classical masters, like John Adams and Anton Webern. "Alex will cover a very wide range of musical activity," says Tom Welsh, the museum's associate music director. "The trick will be how to cram 100 years into an hour."A lively Q&A session will help the lecture on the history of western-classical tunes flow. "(Ross) is serious without being all stuffy. Maybe he'll deny it, but I distinctly remember when he was sneaking reviews of far-out, avant-garde rock into Spin magazine," says Welsh. "How else would you get Björk to do your jacket blurb?" Wax classical at 6:30 tonight in the Cleveland Museum of Art's Recital Hall, 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is free. Call 216-707-2500 or visit www.clevelandart.org.
Fri., Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m., 2007