What a piece! I'm a long-time fan of Gopnick - I have a couple of his books - and this is him at his best. The strongest element in the piece is the synthesising of the two perspectives, the sound science and particular (social) acts of listening. On this forum it's easy to lose sight of that second aspect.
The bass player is also correct to say that music is overwhelmingly associated in most of history with dance, movement, sociability. But I'm darned if I'll consider myself aberrant in my listening habits - solitary, concentrating hard, listening to all of something at once. It's aberrant, historically speaking, to take a daily shower. I regard it as an achievement to have devised music that demands to be listened to with that degree of intensity. There's an unstated political agenda here, all too familiar in universities. The sociological people are trying to attach stigma to this practice because, y'know, it's like elitist (and male, and Western and other Bad Things). On the same logic we should look down on those who stand in front of oil paintings in galleries: keep moving along there.
Thank you again for posting this.