Alexander Goldstein

Composer

Author

About

Alexander Goldstein was born in Moscow USSR into the family of a Bolshoi Orchestra musician. He began his studies at The Gnessin Academy of Music at the age of 6 and 16 years later completed his music education there with Masters Degree in Conducting and French Horn. He enjoyed success as film composer. To date, Alexander composed music for 27 feature films, more than three hundred documentaries and animations. Among composer’s credits are instrumental music compositions for various ensembles and orchestras, songs, music for theater and shows.

In 1991, Alexander Goldstein moved to the US and continues to compose. His chamber and symphonic compositions are being performed in USA, Canada, Russia, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Turkey and other countries. Among his recent works are Neapolitan Symphony; Rotissimo, a Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Orchestra; Trio on the Roof; Romancing the Eyes and Introspective Trio multimedia project.

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

From the very first days of my life I was surrounded by musicians. My family lived in the Bolshoi Orchestra apartment building in Moscow. My father and uncle played the French Horn. My next-door neighbor to one side was the Violin Concertmaster. My neighbor to the other side was a Bassoon Soloist. Above us was a family of three flautists – a father and two sons. Neighbor below us was a pianist. Everyone practiced all the time and I grew up hearing it. Practically all my playmates and I studied music from the age of 3 or 4. So music became and still is my entire life.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

To a point. One can have a lot of fantasy, but if one doesn't possess the knowledge to implement this fantasy into a music composition, this fantasy will be only heard inside its creator’s head.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

I am an award-winning cinematographer. I got into filmmaking through music I composed for films, but I love what I create both visually and musically. I also produce music albums. I am blessed to love what I do. I never envisioned my world without music.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

I always try to bridge the gap between classical and pop/rock genres to reach broader audiences. It’s like Mary Poppins from the musical who sang about adding a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Not everyone grows up being exposed to the classics or has classical education, but if you sweeten it up by injecting some modern elements into the established classical sounds, the younger generations and those outside of traditional audiences find their way to be closer to understanding classical music. That’s why I now compose mostly in Crossover genre. Do I worry about it? No, because when people mature most of them discern between the timeless and trendy.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

What I see is the huge transformation. In modern society is undergoing in the methods of information delivery. Of course, that includes music. But the invaluable role music held for centuries has not been diminishing. Perhaps, the changing tastes of the public drive that role. For example, in the middle of 20th century the public was really interested in the dodecaphonic music. Now, you can hardly hear it. My major regret also is that publishing industry is no longer scouting for real talent. Unless one is a proven star, now the industry only seeks self-produced and self-financed projects. As a result, the best of the best works of our contemporaries may never be brought to light.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

The contemporary musician needs to navigate technology and be prepared to keep up with its changing demands. It is now a part of musician’s education in addition to the fundamentals. Technology can speed up the process of creation, for example, because one can immediately hear one’s score through computer or sequencer playback. The vast sound libraries are at disposal of modern composers and musicians, so they can experiment at will. For some it limits the creative process, for others it offers limitless creative opportunities. I belong to the limitless kind.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Every group and soloist should have concert programs targeted only towards the youth. Inviting youth to the concerts that are beyond their level of comprehension, without specially preparing them ahead of those concerts, is a recurring mistake I’ve been observing over the past two-three decades. There is also the issue of pricing. I think that all unsold seats everywhere that remain empty during concerts should be offered to local school and university students for free. I hate to see empty rows of seats during performances. Every time I can’t help thinking of those who would have liked being exposed to something new, had they had a chance and a free ticket. I have a lot of compassion for musicians playing to only partly filled halls.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

My favorite piece is always the one I’m conceiving or already working on. I do not have a cookie-cutter pattern to music creation. Every composition I created followed its own path. For example, the idea of Romancing the Eyes came to me after attending several piano concerts where pianists struggled to keep their audience enthusiastic with their encore selections. That’s why I chose a song with worldwide popularity and imagined its sound though an entertaining kaleidoscope of genres and styles. In principle, the work always begins in my head, but once I sit down to record it, it’s never the exact same as it exits my mind.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

The more you know about music the more you understand it. Start to learn about music you like. Find out what similar works exist and explore them. Sometimes learning history about composer, genre and composition helps, sometimes not. But in general, knowledge of music history helps the overall comprehension of music.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

I think about myself as audience during the creative process. Would my composition survive my own criticism, is the measure I apply often.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

One project I am completing right now is a multimedia project with live instruments, computer audio and synchronized video, titled Introspective Trio. The premiere is already scheduled in US and Europe. This is the first multimedia project I created and made entirely by myself. Another project I’m putting finishing touches onto is Rhapsody on a Theme of Albinoni for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. It is a Crossover composition scheduled to premiere in Switzerland and Russia very soon. I do not divulge details about projects in the stage of conception. The only thing I can share about this newest one is it will be work for a full symphony orchestra.