Author Ari Goldman

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, will be published by Algonquin in June 2014. Publisher’s Weekly has already 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 PostColumbia Journalism Review, the New York Jewish Week, the Jerusalem Post and the New York Daily News.


Latest book: 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 is slated for publication by Algonquin Books in June 2014. You can preorder your copy now on Amazon.

To watch a video about the Late Starters Orchestra:

To watch a trailer about the Late Starters Orchestra: