Skip to main content

Adam Baer

Adam Baer lives in Los Angeles. A former NPR cultural producer and Travel + Leisure correspondent, he has worked as a music critic for the Los Angeles Times, and has written essays for Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, NPR, and anthologies such as Before & After: Stories from New York (Mister Beller’s Neighborhood, 2002).


A page from Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 for piano, pulled from the stack that sits atop the Baer family Steinway grand.

Sound + Vision

Spring 2013 | Essays

For some of us concerned about the fate of sheet music, Song Reader also served as a litmus test of sorts: How many music fans (at least among the sample Beck attracts) still read, or know someone who reads, Western music notation, notes and chords placed on a five-line staff with clefs, rests, and time signatures?

A New Way to Read Music

April 17, 2013 | Criticism

New systems (and apps) are best when they solve problems, but learning to read Western music notation isn't a problem that requires a solution.


The Malin House (Chemosphere), built in 1961. (Ken Hively. © 2011. Los Angeles Times. Used with permission.)

If You Were Cool, Rich, or Bad Enough to Live Here, You’d Be Home

Winter 2013 | Essays

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I found myself energized by the city’s aesthetic extremes and, upon watching Brian de Palma’s Body Double, quickly sought out John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, arguably the film’s most pivotal character: an octagonal pod-like home with a 360° view, thrust above the hills on a single pole plunged deep into a steep, sloping lot.