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PLAY THINGS

EDITED BY MARY McNAMARA

Not all of Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman’s public traumas are caused by tense budget hearings or angry protesters. Sometimes they’re just pre-curtain jitters.

Edelman plays the cello, you see, and he doesn’t confine himself to the privacy of his own home. Several years ago, in fact, he played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl (one of the lesser-known perks of working for the county). “It was a harrowing experience,” he recalls. “I thought people could hear every mistake I made,” and, he adds, there were many.

Edelman took up the cello in 1977, when his wife, Mari, who is a pianist, decided she wanted someone with whom to play duets. They both liked the sound of the cello, so Edelman began taking lessons from a family friend.

“There were times in the past when my family wanted to throw me out of the house,” he says. “They couldn’t take the screeching.”

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Now, he and Mari do play together, but, he says, never publicly. His music also allows him an aesthetic break from the responsibilities of helping administer a $12-billion budget. At least once a week, he sneaks out of his office at lunchtime and walks over to the Music Center to practice. “Once in a while, I play with members of the Philharmonic,” he says. “That helps me quite a bit.”


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