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John Sant'Ambrogio's
The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony and Other Stories


Chmaber Musician Network
LinkedIn Groups
John's book is great!... You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired... Every musician, and music-lover, should read it! - LN
Steamboat Pilot
Steamboat Springs, CO
July 2010

Cellist, 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

The Independent Press - Bloomfield, NJ (Author's hometown)
July 2010
In 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 Roemmele-Roberts Correspondent
American Record
- Book Review
On 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.
Small Press Bookwatch Accidents 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.
Reader's comment This 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
Steamboat Magazine "One 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." -- Full review by Harriet Freiberger
Daily Classic Music London, England and
Cleveland, OH
"Truly 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."
Full article by Kelly Ferjutz
Reader's comment on Amazon If 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 article
Reader's comment Having 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
Reader's comment I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is a must-read for people in all walks of life.

Mr. 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.

I 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

Reader's comment I 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! - MS
Reader's comment Thanks 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
Reader's comment After I ordered the book, I read the sample chapters 11 and 13. 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…..really funny!! I can't wait to get the book. I hope you sell a million copies! - KB
Reader's comment on Amazon

Bravo! 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 Pilot
Steamboat Springs, CO
Local musician shares classical disasters in upcoming book
Full article - interview
Between the Covers Bookstore, CO Book signing event and performance May 2, 2010

Left Bank Books
St. Louis, MO

Book signing event in St. Louis Nov. 7, 2010 at 3 PM. on N. Euclid St (downtown) store.
Alta Vista Foundation
Santa Barbara, CA
Premiere 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
San Francisco, CA I 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 playing.
So, thanks for writing and sharing. -- MG

Steamboat Pilot
Steamboat Springs, CO


Beginning 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.

"We 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."

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