Good as Goldstein

World-renowned pianist Alon Goldstein returns for Vanguard Concert Series

By Tara Pettit

Photo: Alon Goldstein will perform May 23 at the Dayton Art Institute as part of the Vanguard Concert Series; photo: Meagan Cignoli

As the Dayton Art Institute Vanguard Concert performances continue, Gem City concert-goers will once again be moved by musical melodies that usher listening ears to the sounds of the Romantic Era. In this performance featuring world-renowned pianist Alon Goldstein, audiences will gain exposure to pieces tied to centuries of classical music, while also encountering the man behind the piano; a man with a mission to discover, interact with and share his own journey of connecting music of the past with the realities of life today.

Goldstein’s musical career and love for music runs far beyond the award-winning performances he takes across the world. An Israel-born musician, he made his orchestra debut at age 18 with the Israel Philharmonic and has since appeared at practically every one of America’s best-known music festivals, soloing across the country in the most famous concert halls and across the world in renowned venues.

In a sense, Goldstein lives and breathes the Schubert sonatas he plays and brings to life each movement of Beethoven he learns. He blogs about his experiences, detailing his thoughts and feelings about life, the music he explores and the revelations he has when his music collides with different world values and practices. What Goldstein brings to his career of musical performance is a passionate exploration of people and life. He brings to audiences an innate, intuitive knowledge of what the music intends to communicate.

“I desire to on the one hand expand my repertoire and get closer and deeper into understanding the mystery of these great works,” Goldstein says. “On the other hand, I want to be able to bring the beauty and importance of classical music to a wider public.”

In one blog post, titled “Unexpected Friend,” Goldstein shares the bond he has formed over the years with the Mendelssohn first piano concerto, writing, “Every now and then we discover that we also have an unexpected friend – one which defies any labeling. This friend with whom I have so many memories and have been through so much together with is actually a piece of music… this delightful piece has accompanied me on many happy occasions and in the process also exposed me to the possibilities where things can go awry and as I like to see it, quite funny.”

In his travels across the world, Goldstein also takes time to engage with the cultures he meets in personal ways, even conducting humanitarian acts along the way. Whether donating bags of clothes to impoverished children or teaching them how to play music, Goldstein finds some way to connect with the people in the communities he is invited to.

It’s interactions like these that have spurred Goldstein to engage in community-based initiatives and programs to increase awareness of and accessibility to centuries of music from the greatest composers. While traveling in Venezuela, he became involved with the “Il Systema” (the system) program, which gives young kids from poor neighborhoods a sense of meaning and identity through classic music education.

“This [program] was one of the most moving experiences of my life,” Goldstein says. “One of the things I enjoy most is to go and play in schools, hospitals, or any place that will have the desire and openness to listen to music. I strongly believe we need more classical music in our society and in education.”

Goldstein notes a very important part of his career is set aside for community outreach projects like these that incorporate his humanitarian work with opportunities to “allow the gift of music to enter.”

“There is a great sense of purpose when bringing the beauty of music to so many people,” he says. “I believe great music has the ability to change people and also take them to different places. To be part of that experience and share it with people is extremely fulfilling.”

Goldstein remembers his last performance with the Vanguard series, ten years ago.

“One of the things I remember from playing at the series is the venue being really inspiring for an intimate solo piano recital,” he says. “The intensity between the artist, music and audience was quite special. I loved it.”

Goldstein’s Vanguard performance at Dayton Art Institute will offer a diverse program with works from Franz Schubert and Franz Liszt, as well as a piece from contemporary composer and friend of Goldstein’s, Avner Dorman. The program will begin with the Schubert Sonata in c minor that Goldstein so intensely writes about in his blog.

“A late Schubert sonata is always a special event in my opinion,” he says. “This will be a piece he wrote just a few months before he died at the young age of 31. It is a piece of vast dimensions. Listening to a late Schubert piece is like going on a journey. Prepare to be transported.”

The program concludes with the contemporary work of Dorman, who like Goldstein is an Israeli-born performer and composer. Dorman became the youngest composer at age 25 to ever win Israel’s prestigious Prime Minister’s award. Goldstein will feature a jazz work of Dorman’s, which is currently being performed by the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony.

The pianist plans to introduce the program’s pieces to Dayton audiences by providing interesting insights and anecdotes from his own discovery of the music, as well as conducting a question and answer session at the end of the performance.

Goldstein’s performance will wrap up this year’s Vanguard Concert series at Dayton Art Institute; a series that has dedicated 53 years to rediscovering some of the greatest pieces from centuries of chamber music as Dayton continues to develop a culturally rich arts and music environment, as well as cultivate close relationships with contemporary world class musicians.

“I am really looking forward to meeting with the friends I have made here,” Goldstein said.

Alon Goldstein will perform in the Vanguard Concert Series on Saturday, May 23 at 8 p.m. in the NCR Renaissance Auditorium at Dayton Art Institute, 456 W. Belmonte Park N. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students. For more information, please visit daytonartinstitute.org or alongoldstein.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Tara Pettit at TaraPettit@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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