Saturday, June 14, 2014


In this warm, honest, inspiring memoir Ari L. Goldman (The Search For God At Harvard) shares his life to date, specifically as it concerns his passion - the cello. Albeit this is a passion that has lain fallow for 25 years and is picked up again when the author nears his 60th year.

Now a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Goldman is a former New York Times reporter who started playing cello in his mid-twenties. He was fortunate in being under the tutelage of a masterful teacher whom he regarded with great affection and came to call Mr. J. He studied with Mr. J. For seven years, and to this day words of guidance and inspiration from his teacher remain in Goldman's mind.

However, as Goldman's career grew and his family expanded he put aside his cello bowing to life's practical economic demands. Yet as time passed his cello was not forgotten and he determined to play again in order to perform at his 60th birthday party. Of course, he is plagued by doubts but soldiers on by securing a new teacher, joining the Late Starters Orchestra of New York City, giving up the gym in order to have more time to practice, securing a seat on his 11-year-old son's youth orchestra, and more.

Along the way he learned many lessons, such as "If you think you can play, you can." and to be confident, "If you look frightened the audience will only feel bad for you." Also included in this memoir are the stories of other members of the Late Starters Orchestra of NYC, why they returned to their particular instrument and what music means to them.

While this is, of course, a story about music and musicians it is a story for everyone reminding us of the great resiliency of the human brain and all the opportunities available to us as we grow older. Mr. Goldman has given us a gift in this wonderful story of personal rediscovery - I would love to hear him play!


- Gail Cooke

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