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The Late Starters Orchestra Hardcover – June 10, 2014
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Goldman led a rich, full life in his late 50s, with family, faith, and career (former New York Times reporter, professor of journalism at Columbia, author of three books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard, 1991). But when he took his cello to his first rehearsal of the New York Late Starters String Orchestra, his “middle-aged musical obsession” blossomed. Despite his bad back (a particular problem for a cellist) and everything going on in his life and the world at large, he determined to become a musician and to play at his sixtieth birthday party. Goldman recounts first taking up the cello at 26 after a chance meeting with Mr. J, who became his beloved teacher, and later introducing his youngest child, Judah, to his instrument and watching the boy’s proficiency grow far beyond his own. Brief sketches of Goldman’s fellow late-starter musicians add interest and make this more than just a memoir about music and all that it offers; it is also a warm and moving testament to the opportunities of aging. --Michele Leber
“The Late Starters Orchestra is an anthem for the amateur, and if more people to took up an instrument with Goldman’s level of commitment, our classical music culture would surely improve.” —The Washington Post
“Goldman employs a light touch in The Late Starters Orchestra as he regales us with his quest to master the cello . . . He finds a camaraderie and shared spirit that allows him to accept his limitations as a less-than-perfect cellist whose friends and family will love him, no matter how many notes he misses.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Not just a story about re-kindling musical passion, but a bigger, richer tale for anyone seeking happiness at any age, at any stage.” —American Profile
“I love Ari Goldman’s The Late Starters Orchestra so much that I can almost hear, taste, touch and feel his musical experiences on every single page . . . The Late Starters Orchestra is, simply, a masterpiece.” —The BookReporter
“The Late Starters Orchestra is a joy to read--moving, funny, and deeply true in its depiction of those aspirations we put aside until, one day, we realize it’s now or never. Ari Goldman’s quest to master the cello is an inspiration for dreamers everywhere.” —Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick
“Goldman’s determination and thoughtfulness in his mature quest are inspiring, and may lead others to take on new challenges, whether playing an instrument, or writing a screenplay, or learning to tango. The book shows that there are many ways to define accomplishment, even if one doesn’t become a star or champion, and may be always the amateur, striving for 'good enough' rather than perfection.” —The Jewish Week
“A poignant and witty image of a middle-aged man on the brink of self-renewal . . . It also nicely synthesizes current research on the brain’s plasticity and the value of music and offers a practicable reminder that we get better ‘not by leaps and bounds, but by small, almost imperceptible steps.’ Any reader can welcome its pleasant optimisms.” —The Boston Globe
“[A] charming memoir . . . When [Goldman] focuses on the cello itself, and on his personal life and personal mission, the book is absorbing and sweet . . . That sense of rediscovering or reclaiming one’s voice is an essential human endeavor, as the engaging and uplifting saga of Goldman’s progress towards his triumphant birthday concert reminds us.” —Bookforum
“With grace, humor, and elegance, Goldman generously invites readers into his tale of picking up that musical thread . . . Through it all, Goldman uncovers the soul of a musician that makes him one with his cello and the music.”—Publishers Weekly“More than just a memoir about music and all that it offers; it is also a warm and moving testament to the opportunities of aging.” —Booklist
“We’re all living longer. What should we do with the time? Ari Goldman has a solution. The Late Starters Orchestra is warm, soulful, sometimes rueful, sometimes passionate--just like his beloved cello. I found myself laughing out loud in places--and unexpectedly moved at the end.” —Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Beak of the Finch
“A lovely, moving story of personal rediscovery disguised as a book about cello-playing. Part memoir, part cultural study, The Late Starters Orchestra is is candid, wise, and inspiring, a book a rich and true as an open ‘A.’” —David Hajdu, author of Positively 4th Street
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Like a similar book "Never Too Late" the reality is that there are lots and lots of Late Starters in the society and when we gather our courage and make the plunge we can, and do, make music. This book is an inspiration, even to those of us still in the process. I've even started looking around to see if there is, or if I can start a similar LSO where I live.
My path differs slightly because I acquired a student two years ago. A young man who wanted to play and was frustrated by the public school offering. He is progressing and is a member of a youth orchestra already. So, I get a vicarious orchestral experience as well. (I'm the "Master Tuner" for rehearsals and my wife and I are the music librarians as well.)
Read the book and then go practice.
For anyone who has tried to become an instrumentalist after the age of 40, great book, great read.
writing or anything else at any time in your life, whether you are a late starter or a restarter. The book is inspirational and is a quick read but it will give you a lot to think about.
For Shlomo Carlebach fans there is a special treat. For those who have no clue who he is, you will meet and be touched be the experience.
Who could have thought such a diminutive book could be so completely delicious?
Most recent customer reviews
Not necessarily my type of music or my Genre but it was the passion that each of the characters had for playing or...Read more