Backstage Pass: Meet Linda Goldstein, viola

Backstage Pass: Meet Linda Goldstein, viola


Birthplace and Education: Columbia, South Carolina. University of South Carolina, BA in Music; Hartt College of Music, MM in Performance

Joined the Houston Symphony: July 1981

Beginnings: I began my musical studies at age 11 on a family violin that my grandparents purchased when they arrived in America from Europe. This violin was played by all my uncles and most of my cousins and was finally passed down to me. My first teacher was actually their teacher, as well! I followed my love of the deep, rich sounds of the lower register to become a violist when I was 19.

All in the family: I have an aunt who is an amateur violinist and violist. At 84, she is still an avid chamber music player and concertgoer. She is one of my greatest inspirations, instilling in me my great love of chamber music. My children are also musicians. Shoshi, my daughter, is also a violist, and my son, Michael, is a cellist, although taking a break at this time.

Alternative reality: If I weren’t a professional musician, I would probably be something that would involve art, science and traveling. I’m not sure what it would be.

Musical inspiration: My first teacher, Frits de Jonge, and my later teacher, Walter Trampler, inspired me the most. They both instilled in me the idea that music making is the most important facet of playing your instrument.

Keeping the music making fresh: I challenge myself to study new music and try to perfect my old favorites.

Finding the perfect instrument: I was lucky. I played it and knew it was the one for me. That was around 20 years ago. What I love about playing viola is the deep, rich sound that the instrument produces. We might not have as many solos as the violin, but we are always there, producing a color that becomes part of the melody, enhancing its beauty.

Notable moment: Sharing a recital with my kids a few years ago. We performed a Beethoven String Trio together.

Pastime and good company: Art, running, reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with my husband, Jerry, family and friends (including my dogs).

New Beginnings: I am really excited about welcoming our new violist, Sheldon Person, especially since he and I sit at the same stand! The Houston Symphony viola section is like a family, having played together for many years. Being stand partners is even more special. I look forward to making music together.

Centennial Ponderings: My hope for the organization is a new symphony hall. A performance place we can call our own where we are able to create the perfect environment for enjoying music, on and off the stage.

Houston Symphony Magazine spoke with Linda Goldstein, viola, in September 2011. This conversations is reprinted from the October 2011 issue.

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