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The Late Starters Orchestra

Hardback, 304 pages  (also available in Electronic book text )
ISBN: 9781565129924 (156512992X)
Published by Algonquin Books
This title will be available for purchase from on Jun 10, 2014. For now you can pre-order from one of these online retailers.

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about The Late Starters Orchestra

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. 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 string 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). And we wonder whether Goldman will 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 beside us, anything is possible.

about Ari L. Goldman

Ari L. Goldman is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and the author of three books, including the bestselling The Search for God at Harvard. Goldman arrived at Columbia in 1993, after spending twenty years at the New York Times, most of them as a religion writer. His articles and columns have also appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Jerusalem Post, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He is the media columnist for the New York Jewish Week.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, and educated at Yeshiva University, Columbia, and Harvard, Goldman’s books include Being Jewish: The Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism Today and a memoir, Living a Year of Kaddish. He has been a visiting Fulbright professor in Israel, a Skirball Fellow at Oxford University in England, and a scholar-in-residence at Stern College, the women’s college of his alma mater, Yeshiva University. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Jewish Book Council.

As the director of the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism, and Spiritual Life at Columbia, he teaches the popular “Covering Religion” seminar that in recent years has taken students on study tours of Israel, Jordan, Russia, Ukraine, India, Ireland, and Italy. He is also a faculty member of a Holocaust education program called Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.

His adventures as an amateur cellist--he plays with the New York Late Starters String Orchestra--is the subject of his newest book, The Late Starters Orchestra. He and his wife, Shira Dicker, are the proud parents of three children and live in New York City.

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