Sounds Like Titanic
A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.
When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a...more
Or, should I say Milli Violini?
While still in college, the author, an aspiring violinist, was chosen to be part of an professional music ensemble. Her duties involved playing her instrument, and selling CDs at shopping malls, AND the 54-city God Bless America concert tour. The catch was . . . she performed before a dead microphone. The flawless music came from a recording. The audiences paid big bucks to see musicians "lip sync" to a CD.
The entire scheme was masterminded by ...more
Who I am,
Do I fit in.
Make believin' is hard alone,
Out here on my own.”
-- Out Here On My Own, Irene Cara, Songwriters: Leslie Gore / Michael Gore
”Vivaldi is in your head. The music you hear is like the blaze-orange clothing the men wear on the mountainsides while deer hunting in autumn. The music is like a bulletproof vest, a coiled copperhead, a rabies shot. The music is both a warning and a talisman. The music tells you things.”
”The music says: What yo ...more
God, this book. It’s catapulted itself into my favorite books of all time, but how do I even begin to explain why? Yes it’s about playing the violin (or not playing the violin, however you want to look at it), but the most important parts of this memoir are not about ...more
"While this is a memoir about being a fake, this is not a fake memoir. This is a memoir in earnest, written by a person striving to get at the truth of things that happened in her past." From the introductio ...more
Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest
What a strange book this was. Even though it's a memoir, it kind of reminded me of MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION because of its tongue in cheek narrative and critical examination of what living in the U.S. during a post-9/11 society means for the population. But it's also more than that - it's the very strange journey of a violinist from the Appalachians joining a "fake" orchestra where she and the other musicians played in concert hal ...more
Unfortunately I could not get myself to finish this. I really hate not finishing a book and I usually force myself to suffer through it if it’s bad or not something I’m into, but now that I am getting older, I am learning that there are tons of books I want to read in my lifetime, and it is okay not to finish the ones I don’t like. That might seem obvious to some of you, but my OCD-ness qualities make it difficult for me to d ...more
I usually stick to fiction, because a character's life as invented by the author has to be more interesting than the real lives of people around us. But Jessica's account of working for The Composer is weirder than fiction. Sure, it's a story about being a violinist in fake concerts, but also manages to be a study on the nature of memoir, reality, growing up female in the nineties, undergraduate class conflict, a tour of America at war, and t ...more
Friend: You really played in a fake orchestra touring the whole of America?
Jessica: Yep, we were all playing in front of dead microphones and the crowd could never tell.
Friend: So do you feel guilty having conned hard working folks out of their money?
Jessica: It wasn’t ME, it was the composer…
Friend: Kinda like Milli Vanilli, it was not them it was their manager.
Friend: Wow that’s so interesting you should write a book about it
Jessica: To be honest my life has not been very i ...more
I'm going to cut to the chase and just come out and say that this is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time and I want every woman I know to read it and we will all be in one huge book club.
On its surface, it is a memoir of a woman who spends a few years of her young adulthood faking it as a professional violinist. The Composer, a man who is never named specifically, has written simplistic orchestral music that soun ...more
To me, the most interesting aspect of the memoir was the author's ability to dive into the psyche of America; what do those Ruby Tuesdays and mall performances really tell us about the soul of America? Travel ...more
The story that the author tells is the true story of how a West-Virginia-turned-Columbia-student went on tour in the early 2000s with a few other musicians and The Composer — a man who "created" violin and pennywhistle music. Though she was a decent violin player, the author's talents didn't mean anything since she was helping The Composer to sell a lie: no matter where the ensemble went, from a suburban mall ...more
This is more than just a ...more
Well, that was...different. I'd say it's too strange to be fiction except there were one or two incidents that seemed contrived. For the most part, though, it felt like an honest memoir, at times brutally so. Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman may not have turned out to be a virtuoso violinist but she's not bad on the (computer) keyboard.
The book's hook is Hindman's career, while an impoverished student, as a "fake violinist." Her studies at New York's Columbia University were floundering; her hil ...more
This book was deeper than I expected. It took me to Hindman's childhood where she played the violin and everyone in town thought she has a “reeeyal” talent. Fast forwarding to her entering college to discover that her talent is just belo ...more
In New York, desperate for money so that she could complete her studies at Columbia, she chanced upon an offer to play for someone she only refe ...more
The premise was really, really cool. While attending Columbia University in NYC circa 2002, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman joined a classical music ensemble as a violinist, that as it turned out, wasn't playing music at all but mimicking along to pre-recorded, half-plagerized music that "s ...more
It's crazy that an orchestra was able to fake performances all over the world. That an audience can hear a CD playing, and watch some performers move their instruments around, and believe they are playing. The Composer must have been some kind of evil genius.
But the author refuses to take any responsibility for her ...more
the author was bipolar or something, and she did
mention a few times about seeing a psychiatrist.
Her writing is so cynical most of the time. She seems
almost snobbish when she relates her feelings about
conversations she has had with other people and
how 'wrong' they are. And yet in a nearby paragraph
she will go on and on about how she is a poor
disadvantaged Appalachian woman and she seems
to project that as if she is unique. Ugh.
The story itself i ...more
The music world is a funny place, full of people who work really hard and those who don’t really do anything much. This book is all about faking it so that you will at some point have the wherewithal to be genuine. And somehow, this story works. Especially because I listened to it being re ...more
A unique memoir that I was surprised to really enjoy. The premise doesn't sound all that engaging, but the opposite is true.
What made it so unique was both the content (a musician traveling the United States, and China, performing "live" music that is actually just a CD on playback) and the style. The writing is in the 2nd person, which was both distracting at first but a welcome change to the typical memoir format ...more