The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony
and Other Stories
book is great!... You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired...
Every musician, and music-lover, should read it! - LN
Steamboat Springs, CO
storyteller John Sant'Ambrogio performs tonight
By Nicole Inglis Thursday, July 15, 2010 - Steamboat Springs
John Sant'Ambrogio destroyed the Boston Symphony just once.
He also destroyed the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra three
times. Now retired to Steamboat Springs, the longtime cellist
is busier than ever, spending his time reliving disastrous
yet humorous moments from his 46-year musical career and
forging new ones in performances across the country. More
than just a cellist, Sant'Ambrogio uses those moments to
tell stories of music and its life lessons.
"What I did was I made something happen on the stage
which was just chaos," he said. "But keep in mind,
I've played about 10,000 concerts. So it's fun to go back
and look at those more humorous things." Like the story
of how he embarrassed himself in front of his cellist idol
Pablo Casals, which will be just one of many Sant'Ambrogio
might share - and embellish upon with the help of his cello
- at an event tonight at Epilogue Book Co.
More-click here to continue
Independent Press - Bloomfield, NJ (Author's hometown)
essence, The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony
and Other Stories, through its humor, recounting of
success and failure, simply shows how the symphony orchestra
is, in fact, a metaphor of life, as he explains. He examines
how there were only three women in the most prominent orchestra
of 1959. That has changed to more than 50 percent today. His
stories support how in life, the significance of persistence,
despite negativity and obstacles in our way. Finally, he describes
what really is the message of one of his best stories and
how he almost destroyed the Boston Symphony.
Full Review by Laurie
Guide - Book Review
trips to St Louis I often saw this man sitting in the first
cello chair with the St Louis Symphony. He was part of the
gorgeous sound of that orchestra-a sound that may have been
the most beautiful in the country in Leonard Slatkin's years
there (1968-1996, counting years as assistant).
This is his book of remembrances and sto-ries. It is delightfully
written, with a light touch. The cast includes conductors
from Charles Munch (he began in Boston) to Hans Vonk, cellists
like Yo-Yo Ma, guest artists, and the members of the orchestra.
It will give you an enjoyable evening for sure; but I think
it will also increase your respect for orchestral musicians.
It's a wonderful world, full of extremely brilliant and talented
people. This book strengthens one's determination to keep
that world alive.
happen, and the costs for such errors are huge. "The
Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony and Other Stories"
is a memoir from John Sant'Ambrogio, a nearly four-decade
veteran of the Boston [and St. Louis] Symphony Orchestras.
A master of the Cello, he brings readers a fine collection
of stories to give a bit of inside insight into the world
of classical music with a wide array of fascinating tales.
"The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony and Other
Stories" is a fine addition to any memoir collection
with a special nod to music collections.
is one of the most delightful books I have ever read! I watched
John and listened to the beautiful St. Louis Symphony for
30 years. I also play cello in a community orchestra, so his
stories were especially fun for me to read. I met John in
a music class he was conducting, and we became friends a couple
of years before he left St. Louis. John Sant'Ambrogio is so
many things. Just to mention a few, he is a fine musician,
teacher, a great story teller, a fun loving screwball, hiker,
skier and a great friend. The stories he tells in this book
are hilarious, like the time he pitched his tent over a rattlesnake
pit, had a "sword" fight with bows with another
cellist, times he got lost, when he was supposed to be leading
his section, and of course the horrifying time he almost destroyed
the Boston Symphony Orchestra! This is a terrific book
for anyone who plays in an orchestra, or anyone who loves
to be in the audience! Thanks, John! -- KB
vignette leads invitingly into another, connected like the
players in a symphony orchestra and resembling the orchestra
itself, which John likens to a metaphor for life." --
by Harriet Freiberger
Classic Music London, England and
charming" . . . "You'll laugh, you'll get more than
one lump in your throat, and you'll enjoy every word of this
beguiling collection of stories, all wrapped up in the person
of one John Sant'Ambrogio, cellist and story-teller extraordinaire."
by Kelly Ferjutz
comment on Amazon
you're a classical music aficionado like me, you should love
this book! And what could be better for a reader on the go
than a book of multiple short chapters? This is it. There
are sixty-eight of these short chapters in this 365-page book,
which read very easily, awith never a boring moment to be
encountered. There is humor and wisdom along with the musical
notes. If you ever struggled with music lessons in your life,
you'll relate all the more easily to the author's tales of
his same difficulties. John Sant'Ambrogio was not a musical
prodigy, originally fighting the very concept of being a musician.
But when you're the child of a musical family, sometimes there's
really little choice. Full
read the two sample chapters, I am absolutely sure I will
buy this book. I must absolutely read the rest of it. I found
it fun, educational, and insightful. - JH
thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is a must-read for people
in all walks of life.
Sant'Ambrogio chronicles his colorful life as a cellist
with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as Principal
Cellist with the Pablo Casals Festival Orchestra, and Saint
Louis Symphony Orchestra. His sixty-eight chapters or short
stories are easy reading yet highly entertaining. Not being
a classical musician myself but having a great appreciation
for those who are, I was thrilled to be given a behind-the-scenes
view of the development and experiences of a member of this
very admirable profession. His writing is humble, sincere,
succinct, and highly humorous. I would imagine that many
of his stories would translate easily to other passions,
as he describes what it takes to become the top of one's
profession: passion, hard work, hours of productive practice,
tenacity, and the ability to laugh at one self.
would also suggest this fine book to youth who are considering
a life as a professional classical musician. I will be passing
it on to my teenage son, a budding young cellist. - JM
enjoyed reading his book. I found his story hard to put down.
I found myself staying up late at night or getting up and
reading in the middle of the night--he is a good story teller!
for letting us know and thanks for publishing this book.
It's been cooking in his brain for a long time. I'm sure it's
going to be a huge success. I'm already laughing my throat
sore just reading the two stories included [on the website].
I remember the toupee one. - KT
I ordered the book, I read the sample chapters 11
They are GREAT! I then wrote again to everyone in the Philharmonic
and told them to be sure and read the sample chapters. I told
them that you write just like you talk
I can't wait to get the book. I hope you sell a million copies!
comment on Amazon
This author is exceptional on the page as he is on the cello!
Kudos! This inspirational and LOL book made me appreciate
what the author accomplished during his musical career and
what a ride it was and still continues to be. Rare is it
too that an artist from another creative venue can cross
over to the printed page so exceptionally well and equally
as well to tell his lively story with the same passion as
he does when playing his prized and beautiful instrument.
If you ever get a chance to see this author read from his
new book and play his cello at a book talk, go. You love
every minute of his reading and playing. -- By Jill Murphy
Long "A fellow author" (The Colorado Rockies)
Steamboat Springs, CO
musician shares classical disasters in upcoming book
Full article - interview
the Covers Bookstore, CO
signing event and performance May 2, 2010
St. Louis, MO
signing event in St. Louis Nov. 7, 2010 at 3 PM. on N. Euclid
St (downtown) store.
Santa Barbara, CA
performance of one-man show "The Day I Almost Destroyed
the Boston Symphony and Other Stories in Words and Music"
- Click here
for video download sample
have just finished your book. Congratulations. It is really
an entertaining reminiscence that you have put together. I
really enjoyed the humor that you incorporated. And yes, any
of us has many stories to tell after so many years of orchestra
So, thanks for writing and sharing. -- MG
at 7 p.m., the storyteller and musician will perform in
the comfort of the bookstore. Refreshments will be served
at 6:30 p.m. Epilogue owner Erica Fogue called Sant'Ambrogio
a "Steamboat treasure," and said the store is
looking forward to the performance.
thought it'd be great to have an intimate gathering of his
friends and fans," Fogue said. "We've been looking
forward to having it at the store. It's the perfect ambiance
for his playing and storytelling."
Sant'Ambrogio will tell several stories from his recently
released book, "The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston
Symphony," while accompanying himself on the cello.
He'll use his instrument to illustrate the stories with
examples of several often-humorous disasters in his career.
"The reason I wrote the book was because there was
so much that had happened, and I wanted to get people interested
in symphony orchestras," he said. If you use a sense
of humor at times and you tell behind-the-scenes events,
it gives people some insight.
Ionly want to sell books because I want to spread the word
and get people interested in music. It's an opportunity
to share my joy of the things I've done in my life."
His tales translate well into stories because orchestra
is a metaphor for life, he said.
The evolution of the orchestra parallels social and cultural
changes, like the progression of women's rights. But the
orchestra also can teach valuable lessons in morality and
integrity. It's tolerance, understanding and listening that
he hopes to share in his book and live storytelling performances.
If you want to get along with someone, if you want to really
make something work, you have to be able to listen to each
other," Sant'Ambrogio said.
In an orchestra, everyone's listening to everybody else.
If you don't listen, if you don't take into consideration
what other people are doing, you don't have harmony."
to beginning of the article
to top of this page.