The Ensemble

The Ensemble Review

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

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • 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 ...

  • 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...

  • Lauren Fanella

    4.5⭐ Stellar writing with such complex and rich characters and relationships. Blown away that this is a debut novel. Loved being immersed in this world of classical music. ...

  • 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...

  • Susan

    I enjoyed this book and the story of four musicians. It is one of those books in which not much really happens but it spans many years and is a great character study. It was beautifully written. But I...

  • Katelyn

    Added: 4.5 stars. A few weeks later I still can't stop thinking about this book and I now love to watch YouTube videos of quartets.Wow. At first I didn't think I'd keep with this book, but I became co...

  • Joanie

    If this could hook me in as much as the premise of it is hooking me in right now (I will buy a hardcover of this as a birthday present to myself oh my god), hello, new obsession. I never had the disci...

  • Taryn Pierson

    While this is a little bit inside baseball and thus might not be as fun for those who didn't grow up playing a string instrument, I really liked it....