The Ensemble

The Ensemble

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

Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.

In The Ensemble, each character picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together—by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry together, and by choosing each other over and over again.

Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a behind-the-scenes look into the highly competitive, mysterious world of high-level musicians. 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.

Title:The Ensemble
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780735214767
Format Type:

About Aja Gabel


    The Ensemble Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    A while back I decided to quit reading most of the summarys posted for books. The reason I stopped doing this is that I felt too much of the book was being given away. I do, however, read the first pa...

  • Victoria

    This is a remarkable debut as much for its portrayal of ambitious musicians in the world of classical music, as it is for its depiction of growing into adulthood within that rarified world. I was surp...

  • Celeste Ng

    In the tradition of THE INTERESTINGS and THE SECRET HISTORY, THE ENSEMBLE teases apart the strands of an intense and long-lasting group friendship that both bolsters and binds its members. Aja Gabel's...

  • Thomas

    3.5 starsI liked this debut novel about four young musicians who come together to form the Van Ness Quartet. The group includes first violin Jana, their resilient and headstrong leader, second violin ...

  • Jennifer Blankfein

    The Ensemble is a great summer read – a wonderful debut about four quartet musicians and their lives together from right out of school to adulthood – what they gave up and what they earned, the lo...

  • Taryn Pierson

    If you grew up playing a string instrument, The Ensemble will bring that dusty rosin smell right back to you. You probably knew people like Brit, Henry, Daniel, and Jana, the four characters who make ...

  • Dianne

    Nicely done debut novel about a classical string quartet that spans the sixteen years following their graduate school recital to their last concert together. It's a coming of age story, with a musical...

  • Rebecca Foster

    In May 1994, the members of the Van Ness String Quartet are completing their final graduate recital at a San Francisco conservatory and preparing for the Esterhazy quartet competition in the Canadian ...

  • Jamie

    I loved this. I loved it I loved it. Never have I read such glorious writing about music and about musicians. I want to say something poetic about how the author builds the four characters into a harm...

  • Kate

    I think this will be my favorite book of the year! THE ENSEMBLE follows four musicians over a decade and a half, beginning with their string quartet debut in graduate school, and then dropping in at t...