Hard Cover eBook


On sale date: 06-10-2014

TRIM SIZE: 5 x 7

ISBN: 978-1-56512-992-4

LIST PRICE: $23.95


On sale date: 06-10-2014

ISBN: 978-1-61620-400-6

LIST PRICE: $22.95

If you thought a fiddler on a roof was in a precarious position, imagine what happens when a middle-aged professor with a bad back takes up the cello.

Ari Goldman hasn’t played in twenty-five years, but he’s decided to give the cello one last chance. He’s not that good. But never mind. First he secures a seat in his eleven-year-old son’s youth orchestra, and then he’s ready for the big time: the Late Starters Orchestra of New York City—a bona fide amateur chamber orchestra for beginning or recently returning adult players.

We accompany Goldman to LSO rehearsals (their motto is “If you think you can play, you can”) and sit in on his son’s Suzuki lessons (where we find out that children do indeed learn differently from adults). As Goldman meditates on the mysteries of the cello itself, we wonder with him if he’ll be good enough to perform at his next birthday party. Coming to the rescue is the ghost of Goldman’s very first cello teacher, Mr. J, who continues to inspire and guide him—about music and more—through this enchanting midlife journey.

The Late Starters Orchestra reminds us that with a band of friends behind us, anything is possible.


“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, author of Long for the World: The Strange Science of Immortality

“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, music critic for The New Republic

Meet the author

Former New York Times reporter Ari L. Goldman is the author of three previous books, including the bestseller The Search for God at Harvard. He teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.