Ari L. Goldman is a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and the Spiritual Life. He teaches a variety of courses, including the popular Covering Religion seminar that has taken students on study tours of Israel, Ireland, Italy, India and Russia.
Goldman is the author of four books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard. His new book, The Late Starters Orchestra, was published by Algonquin in June 2014. Publisher’s Weekly has named the book one of the top 10 music books for its spring list, calling it a “wise, candid, and inspiring true story about rediscovering your passion.”
Professor Goldman came to Columbia in 1993 after spending 20 years at the New York Times, most of it as a religion writer. His articles have also appeared in the Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, the New York Jewish Week, the Jerusalem Post and the New York Daily News.
Ari’s New Book, out in Summer 2014:
The Late Starters Orchestra
In a cluttered room in an abandoned coat factory in lower Manhattan, a group of musicians comes together each week to make music. Some are old, some are young, all have come late to music or come back to it after a long absence. This is the Late Starters Orchestra – the bona fide amateur string orchestra where Ari Goldman pursues his lifelong dream of playing the cello.
Goldman hadn’t seriously picked up his cello in twenty-five years, but the Late Starters (its motto, If you think you can play, you can) seemed just right for this music lover whose busy life had always gotten in the way of its pursuit.
In the Late Starters Orchestra, Goldman takes us along to LSO rehearsals and lets us sit in on his son’s Suzuki lessons, where we find out that children do indeed learn differently from adults. He explores history’s greatest cellists and also attempts to understand what motivates his fellow late starters, amateurs all, whose quest is for joy, not greatness. And when Goldman commits to playing for his upcoming birthday party we wonder with him whether he’ll be good enough to perform in public. To the rescue comes the ghost of Goldman’s first cello teacher, the wise and eccentric Mr. J, who continues to inspire and guide him – about music and more – through this well-tuned journey.
The Late Starters Orchestra was published by Algonquin Books in June 2014. You can order your copy now on Amazon.