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The Late Starters Orchestra by Ari L.…
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The Late Starters Orchestra

by Ari L. Goldman

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If you have never played an instrument, or used to and have been away from it, wanting to go back, “The Late Starters Orchestra” is worth considering. The orchestra from this book’s title is the New York City version of a Late Starters Orchestra, just for that kind of person. The author of course is a member, in the cello section (it’s strings only). However, the book is not just about this music group but more a memoir of the author’s personal life, music and otherwise. The big goal in sight is to play the cello at his sixtieth birthday party. He was lucky to have had a great teacher, whose voice he remembers throughout the book, encouraging him when few others will. His wife, eleven years younger than him, must be very patient as it seems they clash in many ways; yet, they manage to work things out. And, in case the cello never worked out for him, he has his youngest son begin with the “Suzuki method,” the workings of which are big in this book. From there his son opens up to other kinds of music, and the two of them grow musically in their own ways.

One point I think I disagree with the author on is the place classical music holds among other arts. He believes that because it is meant for listening, it at the top of the pyramid. You could argue that music where the audience participates more actively is even greater. Or, paintings, for example, are meant for “listening” with your eyes. I am not a classical musician (I may be biased in favor of jazz); it seems like everyone has different feelings about classical music, and all genres for that matter. So, those who make an effort deserve credit, because the outcome can be wonderful. A different group we read about is the Really Terrible Orchestra – you can guess how they got their name. I don’t know how hard they try to make good music – if they try to sound bad, I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Anyway, I think it is great for Goldman to stick with it, and I think if anyone really wants to do something, they can make it happen, provided resources are available. Don’t limit yourself.

Note: I won a copy of this title through Goodreads' First Reads. ( )
  MattCembrola | Nov 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I didn't warm up to this book right away. And the first time I read it, I missed a lot. But as you can see, I gave it five stars, and I'm currently re-reading it. I love reading about Mr. Goldman's journey to finally playing 2 cello pieces at his 60th birthday. It was not a linear path, but no real life story is. The illustrations are an exquisite addition. I would liken it to Noah Adams' book, Piano Lessons, about the NPR host who had a similar age/music goal. ( )
1 vote sarahlouise | Jun 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ari Goldman, author of The Late Starter's Orchestra, has achieved measurable success as a practicing journalist, a teacher of news writing, and as the author of a popular book some years back, The Search for God at Harvard. These bio facts are important when we settle in to read this account of restarting playing the cello and joining an amateur orchestra in his senior years. Goldman is not a flighty oldster. He's serious about his undertaking. And he has a specific goal. He will learn enough to play for his family and friends at a party he will host for his sixtieth birthday. He will prove to all present that he is a musician.
The theme of following one's dream is ubiquitous.Goldman buys into it hook, line and sinker.Even if we may think him foolish, we find him to be an informative and pleasant chatty guide to the facts of orchestral organization and the challenges of practice and rehearsal. Fortunately Goldman has a son, Judah, who is precocious at cello play and other instruments as well. When Ari gets discouraged, he bathes in his son's successes. The writing is sprightly, humorous, and offers worthwhile insight into the power and mystery of music. ( )
  camsend | Dec 2, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Started this book but finding it a slow read. Not sure if it's just not my type of storyline, but will attempt it again one day.
  Neverwithoutabook | Nov 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a nice little book about the author relearning the cello in his older years with the idea of playing a concert for his 60th. Interesting stories are included about various musicians and family members. It did take a while to read as it was a bit slow going but generally it was a good read. ( )
  tarmina | Nov 3, 2014 |
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I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team.
Diana Nyad, 64, after completing the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida on her fifth attempt.
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To my brothers, Shalom and Dov
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Standing in a crowded elevator in midtown Manhattan with a cello strapped to your back is no way to win a popularity contest.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 156512992X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:51 -0400)

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