Composer William Goldstein has a rare gift. He can sit down at the piano and instantly and without hesitation create a complex and fully formed musical composition from start to finish in real time. What makes his latest recording, “Collaborative Composition: Created in the Moment” perhaps even more extraordinary, is that each of the eleven tracks features Goldstein engaging in a spontaneous dialogue with a second musician, the two ideas swapping to produce structurally and emotionally compelling works. of art. The album is released by The Orchard on September 24, 2021.
The new recording highlights seven artists who collaborated with Goldstein in this high-flying musical act. Unlike jazz improvisations, which start from an existing theme, rhythm or melody, these complex works are created from an entire fabric, without any predefined shape, style or direction. The album’s eleven instant compositions, taken from previously released Goldstein albums, were recorded live as performed in the studio, with the exception of a selection of piano and violin, which was created in front of a stunned audience.
While Goldstein might not be a household name, critics and devoted fans have embraced Goldstein’s unique work and talent, and his recordings average six million monthly streams. His album “The Bach Effect”, which reached over 400,000 downloads in just four months, is among the top picks alongside superstars such as Lang Lang and Vladimir Horowitz on Amazon’s classical solo piano playlist, curated by music experts.
The ability to speak the language of music in real time has always been part of Goldstein’s arsenal, but it took a long time for him to realize that he was a truly exceptional talent, despite the release of ‘instant composition albums. We know that the great composers of the 17th and 18th centuries improvised during their concerts, but we have no record of their achievements. Goldstein’s “Aha” moment came when he served as jury chairman and guest artist at the 2011 Poland Instant Composition Competition at the Transatlantyck Festival. The event underscored that even among esteemed colleagues, his ease with this lost art was unmatched.
Perhaps this is why Goldstein was skeptical when a friend and fellow musician James DiPasquale suggested creating an instant composition together. DiPasquale persisted, and a reluctant Goldstein tried. The result is a kind of musical alchemy as clearly attested by “Collaborative Composition: Created in the Moment”. In addition to DiPasquale, the recording features legendary jazz soloist Karl Berger, violin prodigy Elizabeth Basoff-Darskaia, violinist Lili Hadyn, Grammy-winning guitarist Laurence Juber des Wings by Paul McCartney and cellist, pianist and harpsichordist Maksim Velichkin. The album also includes Movement for Violin and Piano, The Strand, a collaboration with violinist Pei-Win Liao, created and recorded during a live concert.
The common denominator to all is Goldstein, whose ability to inspire is as much a factor as his gifts as a composer and performer. “All you have to do is listen,” Goldstein says. “I throw out an idea and the collaborator responds with something new and I react to that. Basically we have a simultaneous conversation. Each of my collaborative compositions is unique because I work with different artists and it colors and changes everything.”
Think of Goldstein as the Swiss Army Knife of the musical world. In an eclectic and distinguished career spanning six decades, he has done it all, with a resume that sufficiently includes “the first,” “the only” and “the youngest,” not to mention many accolades. , for a dozen careers. Unsurprisingly, his musical talent surfaced from an early age. He could play by ear at age three, play sheet music from films he had seen once at age eight, and at age nine he caught the attention of Teachers College at the University of Columbia, where he was interviewed and evaluated. Goldstein was able to develop a classical technique without ever taking piano lessons and wrote his first orchestral work at the age of 18. Success and recognition came quickly, almost before he came out of his teens, and never wavered.
Crossing genres and styles, from classical to jazz and almost everything in between, the Emmy nominee Goldstein has scored over 50 movies and TV shows, including all episodes of NBC-TV’s “Fame,” “Twilight Zone “and the Disney remake of” The Miracle Worker. ” Discovered by Berry Gordy, he is the only recording artist signed with both Motown and CBS Masterworks. His own label is distributed worldwide by The Orchard and has a catalog of over 60 albums. Goldstein created the first interactive computer game score, and his pioneering technological achievements – he composed the first fully computer-sequenced, straight-digital score for the NBC series “Qceanquest” – still influence the recording process today. As the founding director of the California State Summer School for the Arts, he strived to bring talented downtown youth into summer music programs. A documentary on Goldstein is currently in production.
Goldstein drew on his talent to create compositions from scratch in concerts, recitals and master classes, where he could create a real-time ballet with dancers, hold a musical conversation with singers or compose a short film. , looking at it for the first time and simultaneously marking it from opening to last. A collaborator of Goldstein, dancer Qi Zhang, puts it this way: “Improvisation imitates life. It represents a moment in time that cannot be duplicated. The previous second cannot be repeated and the next second cannot be predicted.
Undeniably, Goldstein’s live performances are where his magic really takes hold, leaving audiences in awe and wondering “how does he do that?” He invites individuals to join him on stage and choose three notes at random. On site, he offers an impromptu musical portrait which, according to most of the participants, reflects a deep and inner quality of their life.
Even Goldstein isn’t exactly sure what’s going on. “I’m not consciously trying to capture the story of their life, but there is an emotional connection that occurs,” says the composer. Goldstein has released several albums based on his instant three-note compositions, including “Soul of an Actor”, which features works based on notes selected by the artists themselves, and “A Life in 3 Notes”.
At 79, with a busy schedule of classes, songwriting, and concerts, what continues to motivate Goldstein is a mission to help others access their talents. “I have been told several times in my classes that I have changed people’s lives,” he says. “I can’t teach the talent I was born with, but I can explain what I actually do, so that others can try to master these techniques, bringing them closer to expressing their ideas in real time. believe in music Expression and creative expression are languages just like spoken language. My advice is simple: learn your art vocabulary, learn your instrument technique and focus on that until you you were getting to the point where you can express yourself in your art as easily and naturally as you do when you speak. “
Or as Goldstein likes to say … “Genius is not the ability to take the commonalities of life and make them obtuse, but rather the ability to take the complexities of life and make sense of them. . “