The Beatles got their big break on The Ed Sullivan Show. Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno, all broke through with appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Internationally acclaimed pianist, composer and entertainer, Marvin Goldstein, whose recital and professional career hits the 50 year mark this year, considered his breakthrough moment, not a performance he gave, but a performance he attended.
"My first big break was hearing Leonard Bernstein in concert with The New York Philharmonic on The Mount of Olives in Israel," Goldstein said. "The break was the feeling I felt that carries through this very moment and on."
That inspiration, felt in 1968, while Goldstein was a student attending Tel Aviv University on a full music scholarship from The State of Israel, is what he still draws on as he connects with audiences across the world.
HALF A CENTURY OF PERFORMANCE
To honor five decades of performance, Goldstein is hosting an extraordinary gathering of friends and artists for a Gala Concert, Saturday, June 6, 2009, at The Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, UT, at 7:30 p.m.
Performing with many artists who have performed and/or recorded with him through the decades, Goldstein will host Kenneth Cope, Kirby Heyborne, Dan Beck, Jessie Clark Funk, Gabriela Quezada, Michael Dowdle, Sam Payne, Meredith Campbell, John Canaan, Daron Bradford, Joy Gardner, Allyse Smith Taylor, Chenille Saunders, Karen Larsen, Sarah Morgann, Steven Kapp Perry, Todd McCabe, April Moriarty, Joe Paur, Jonelle Goddard, Anna Manja Larcher, Jason Hewlett, Heartbound, One Clear Voice, Thomas Cook and others.
"At this concert, I want a spirit of thankfulness to reign, as well as a total fun experience of joy," Goldstein said. The Covey Center is a wonderful venue as Goldstein said his "favorite medium of performing is a small theater for groups under 700." In such a setting, Goldstein said, he best experiences a "relationship with the audience of oneness, in calling for a collective amazing experience."
"Sitting down to a concert grand in a venue filled with people is a feeling of gentle stirring intimidation that is healthy for the heart and mind and most positive," Goldstein said. "In the past ten years my additional favorite musical evening includes young aspiring artists joining me on stage in hopes that their career might get a boost."
FIFTY YEARS AGO
When Goldstein was 9, he went into a bank with his mother and met his destiny. There, sitting on the counter with an offer to win 12 free accordion lessons, was a beautiful, shiny accordion.
"I asked Mom if I could enter and low and behold, we won!" Goldstein said. Not the 12 free lessons, but 6 free lessons as a consolation prize. Of course they had to rent an accordion from the teacher.
"I was so excited and once I got my hands around that squeeze box, there was no turning back," Goldstein said. "I practiced and practiced, so much so, my Dad asked if I might consider giving it a rest so he could hear the television."
From the accordion, Goldstein progressed to the piano, but met an obstacle when he wanted to be a member of the Junior High School marching band. Neither the piano nor the accordion would fit well on the field.
"The band director asked how my grades were in school and after I told him all A's he immediately told me to get ready for the French horn," Goldstein recalled. Needless to say, with three instruments to practice, Goldstein's Dad sacrificed a lot of TV.
"My first professional gig was in a German Bar on Fort Lauderdale beach New Years Eve 1966. I was 16 years old," Goldstein remembered. "I received $10 for three hours. I guess that was enough money to desire a career in music."
Goldstein said friends loved to come over and hear him play new songs, especially girls. "Now the desire for practicing soared to new levels!" Goldstein said.
Straight out of high school Goldstein received a full scholarship to attend Tel Aviv University in Israel. "At 18 I was headed to the Middle East," Goldstein, who is Jewish, said. "I lived there for one and one-half years and experienced The New York Philharmonic perform with Leonard Bernstein conducting on The Mount of Olives. That experience solidified a more fervent desire to stay in music."
Following Tel Aviv University School of Music, his studies continued at the famed "Mozarteum" of Salzburg, Austria. He completed a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Goldstein, who is known as a maestro pianist, surprisingly earned his performance degrees on the French Horn.
"I thought I could make more money playing the French Horn, rather than the piano," . . . .
YEARS OF PREPARATION
Although always performing, Goldstein did not sit down in a studio to begin his recording career until he was 38 years old. "I felt I had to record something for my Mother and family," Goldstein said. "Prior to that I felt quite 'not ready' to record because of accuracy and lack of facility on the keyboard," Goldstein said.
Those who have enjoyed concerts or firesides which often open with a theme and then progress to audience requests from Goldstein's repertoire of upward of 4000 songs, will agree when Goldstein acknowledged, "Obviously I was my worst critic, yet I feel the preparation time of nearly 29 years was necessary. After that 29 years I had so much music in me that recording came quite easy and fast and I recorded a lot in the following 20 years and continue without reservation."
With over 40 CDs, most recently, "Friends and Brothers", a CD recorded with former NBA great, turned singer, Thurl Bailey, and country artist, Billy Dean; as well as "Count Your Blessings" and "Popcorn Popping", 15 piano arrangement books, plus traveling to three continents and performing thousands of concerts, Goldstein said he has made up for his late start.
On June 2, 1985, Goldstein joined the LDS church, after he described keeping "maybe 40 sets of missionaries' hands full!"
"Joining the Church totally explained why I had been practicing music for 25 years before I truly understood the power and glory of it," Goldstein said.
Four years later, in 1989, Goldstein described an impromptu blessing from Elder Marvin J. Ashton, as a pivotal moment, "I was profoundly moved and the blessing described my musical life and the purpose of it clearly for all time and eternity," Goldstein said. "Now 50 years into the music career, there is no doubt, no hesitation and no ambiguity about what was given me to bring to this life and what to do with it."
PEACE WITH MUSIC
Through his Peace With Music Foundation, Goldstein set out "to bridge the cultural, religious and political differences of people everywhere through the medium of music."
"I longed to perform in The Middle East even from 1968, when I was a student there," Goldstein said. "It wasn't until approximately 1995 that I organized a performance with famed Israeli singer, Gali Atari in Israel. Persistence was the name of that game in contacting, convincing and way more to get the performance with Gali Atari to happen."
After the initial concert in Israel, more were scheduled there and in the United States. With Arabic singer Najwa Gibran joining them, Goldstein said they were poised to show the world "music can bring peace between cultures, no problem."
When Goldstein performs, he hopes music reaches into the audience and moves people forward. "I want my music to say to an audience, 'Let's together bring about a great social change for the positive through music, in our homes, at work and for our communities,'" Goldstein said.
"I have experienced miracles at concerts," Goldstein said. From feeling the presence of angels and hearing them sing during a performance, to listening to the testimonies of hundreds of individuals following musical firesides and feeling the spirit of a collective faithful crowd at many hundreds of concerts, Goldstein feels he is fulfilling his God-given mission.
"I continue to perform because I have been asked to by THE source of truth and light," Goldstein said, adding wryly, "and because I can't do anything else."
"Music is my release and happiness, shy of my wife and son," Goldstein said. He and his wife Lenae, reside in Tallahassee, Florida. They have one son, Nicholas.
Even with many honors to his credit including listing in Who's Who in Music in Europe, the Listeners Choice Award from the LDS Booksellers Association as favorite instrumentalist four different years, designation as a National Keyboard Artist with the Kawai America Corporation, and a career taking him around the world to perform, Goldstein considered his proudest moment when his son wrote he was "his hero in life."
While the business side of a career in music has been "quite the challenge, but well worth the struggle," Goldstein said the artistic side has surprised him, as he has accomplished what seemed only dreams as a young man.
Music has also touched him spiritually, which is "so welcome, yet always unexpected, while filled with joy and wonder," said Goldstein.
"Music means breath and peace to me," Goldstein said. "I have been able to see the good that music does right before my eyes. People don't fully grasp the power of music to seriously change lives and bring people together. Music is a necessity."
Looking back, and now looking forward, Goldstein concluded, "I feel I have accomplished yet a small portion of my profound mission with music. I am glad that I have more time to get on it."
For more information, go to www.coveycenter.org.
Tickets for Goldstein's 50th Anniversary Concert are available through The Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center Street, Provo, Utah 84601, Ticket Office 801-852-7007.
Now the giveaway:
To enter to win the two tickets for the June 6th concert, simply leave a comment on this post!
Giveaway closes Thursday, May 14th at 11:59pm. Good Luck!