Rediscovering the joy of playing the cello at age 93

Posted on: July 23, 2021

“In 1940, at age 12, Vera Jiji found her first passion: the cello,” writes Alix Strauss in Tuesday’s (7/21) New York Times. “She learned to love playing the orchestra instrument at the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan. ‘I didn’t pick the cello. They assigned it to me because I had a good ear and long fingers,’ said the Bronx native, now 93. ‘I loved it.’… As an adult, though, she stopped playing the instrument. She became a professor and a fixture at Brooklyn College teaching English…. She married twice and had four children. Her beloved cello … remained untouched … for about 40 years. She picked up her cello again only after retiring at 62. ‘I revived the passion I always felt when I started playing again,’ she said. Since then, it has been like a second life. Today Dr. Jiji, who lives with her 93-year-old husband [on the] Upper East Side … can be found playing most Fridays with other amateurs and friends in two musical groups, a trio and a string quartet, at the 92nd Street Y.” Says Jiji, “Even though I was aging I learned I could still re-enter this wonderful world of creating music.”