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The Ensemble: A Novel Audiobook, by Aja Gabel Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Aja Gabel Narrator: Rebecca Lowman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2018 ISBN: 9780525528364
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"Pitch-perfect." —People

"You won’t be able to quit these characters." —goop

The addictive novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of classical music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.


Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. They would never have been friends if they hadn't needed each other. They would never have found each other except for the art which drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for each other.

Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who's always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group's youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other - by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.

Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel's debut novel gives a riveting look into the high-stakes, cutthroat world of musicians, and of lives made in concert. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A riveting look inside the world of classical musicians and an intimate study of friendships.”

    Marie Claire

  • “Gabel’s first novel explores the ups and downs of their chamber group, the Van Ness Quartet, as their relationships and talents grow and mature. Each character is fully developed, each action and emotion is believable and relatable…Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom. Each of the four parts begins with a selection of chamber music pieces that make a wonderful and fitting aural backdrop.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • A May 2018 LibraryReads Pick
  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick for Spring

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About the Author

Aja Gabel, a former concert cellist, is an author whose writing has appeared in BOMB, Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia, and a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. She is the recipient of awards from Atlantic Monthly, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Literary Arts Oregon, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she was a 2012–2013 fellow in fiction.

About the Narrator

Rebecca Lowman is an actress and audiobook narrator who has won numerous Earphones Awards. She has starred in numerous television shows, including Law & Order, Big Love, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy, among many others. She earned her MFA from Columbia University.