Justin Davidson is Newsday's classical music critic. A native of Rome, Davidson worked as a stringer at the Rome bureau of the Associated Press, before coming to the U.S. to attend Harvard as a music major. While in Massachusetts, he worked as a stringer for the Associated Press Boston bureau, studied classical guitar and began a career as a composer.
After spending a year on a music fellowship in Paris, Davidson moved the New York City to pursue a doctoral degree in music composition at Columbia University, where he also was instructor and later adjunct professor of music. His compositions, which have been performed in the U.S., Italy, China and Eastern Europe, have won him grants and awards from the American Academy/Institute of Arts and Letters, the Mellon Foundation, Meet the Composer, Columbia University and the Foundtion des Etats-Unis in Paris. While a graduate student, Davidson also commuted to Europe where he supervised the dubbing and subtitling of major Hollywood movies into French, German, Italian and Spanish. At the same time, he wrote regularly for the best-selling Birnbaum Guides to Europe.
Combining his interests in music and in writing, Davidson became Editorial director at Sony Classical in 1995. As a freelance writer, he has contributed regularly to the Los Angeles Times and Slate, as well as to The Washington Post, Opera News, Chamber Music, Stagebill, Piano & Keyboard, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Reader's Digest Books. He began contributing concert reviews to Newsday in 1995 and became staff classical music critic the following year. He was a 1999 Pulitzer Prize finalist for criticism and previously won a Press Club of Long Island award and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for writing on music.
He lives in New York City with his wife, art historian Ariella Budick, and son, Milo.