(b. 27 March 1936, Brooklyn, New York, New York).
American composer, now resident in both Canada and the USA, of mostly chamber and electroacoustic works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a violinist and writer.
Mr. Goldstein attended Columbia University from 1952–59, where he studied composition with Otto Luening for one year and where he earned his BA and MA. He later studied violin privately with Antonio Miranda in New York, New York from the mid- to late 1960s.
Among his honours are the Artists Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition in Boston, Massachusetts (1988), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award in New York, New York (1990) and the Prix Acustica International from WDR (1994, for between [two] spaces [zwischen (zwei) räumen]). He is also the subject of the film Espace Ouvert – Portrait of Malcolm Goldstein by Thierry Collins.
As a violinist, he performed with the Judson Dance Theater in New York, New York from 1962–64, the New York Festival of the Avant Garde in the 1960s and the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York, New York in the 1960s. He later performed primarily as a soloist, both in improvised and notated music, and has performed in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. He has performed numerous improvisations with the title Soundings since the late 1960s.
As a writer, he has contributed articles about improvisation to various journals, including Perspectives of New Music, many of which appear in From Wheelock Mountain: Music and Writings by Malcolm Goldstein (1977, in Pieces: A Profile, edited by Michael Byron). In addition, he wrote the book Sounding the Full Circle: Concerning Music Improvisation and Other Related Matters (1988, self-published, now available through Frog Peak Music).
He is also active in other positions. As a performer of contemporary music, he has been active as an improviser and vocalist and has played various found and natural objects, among other instruments. He co-founded with Philip Corner and James Tenney the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble in New York, New York in 1963, a group for contemporary music that performed until 1970. He later served as director of the New Music Ensemble of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in the 1970s and of the hr Ensemble für Neue Musik in Frankfurt am Main in the 1990s.
He taught various subjects at Columbia University from 1961–65, The New School in New York, New York from 1963–65 and 1967–69, the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts from 1965–67, Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from 1969–71, Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont from 1972–74, Dartmouth College from 1976–78, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine from 1978–82.
In addition to the works listed below, Mr. Goldstein received commissions from the Charles Ives Society to prepare critical editions of Symphony No. 2 in 1976 and String Quartet No. 2 in 2002, both by Charles Ives.
His primary distributor is Frog Peak Music.
SELECT LIST OF WORKS (note that all works are structured improvisations)
Marin's Song, Illuminated (sound/theatre ritual, vocalise), any number of voices, any number of players, 1979–81 (also concert version for violin [+ voice, any number of metal objects], fixed media, slide projections [by the composer])
Aparición con vida (theatre piece, text by Marjorie Agosín), violin (+ voice), 1993
a convergence of distances, any number of dancers, any number of players, 1994
Fragments of the Wall, dancer, saxophone, trombone, violin, double bass, percussion, 2008
a breaking of vessels, becoming song (concerto), flute, orchestra, 1981
Cascades of the Brook: Bachwasserfall (concerto), violin, orchestra, 1984
Two Silences, 2003
a cultivation of field (for Morton Feldman), small orchestra/orchestra, 2005
In Search of Tone Roads No. 2, small orchestra in antiphonal groups (winds, brass, strings), 2013
Majority – 1964, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1964
frog pond at dusk, any number of players, 1970
upon the string, within the bow...breathing, any number of strings, 1972
Yosha's Morning Song Extended, any number of players, 1974
Hues of the Golden Ascending, any number of flutes, 1979
The Seasons: Vermont, any number of players, fixed media, 1980–82
Jade Mountain Soundings, any string instrument, 1983
Of Sky Bright Mushrooms Bursting in My Head, any 3 winds, violin, piano, percussion, 1983
my feet is tired but my soul is rested, violin, 1985
...that hung like fire on heaven, English horn, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, French horn, trombone, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, fixed media, 1985
Soweto Stomp, any number of players, 1985
qernerâq: our breath as bones, violin (+ voice), 1986 (version of vocal work)
Sounding the Fragility of Line (in memoriam Morton Feldman), violin, 1988
Ishi/'man waxati' Soundings, violin, 1988
through deserts of time, string quartet, 1990
gentle rain preceding mushrooms (in memoriam John Cage, vocalise), violin (+ voice), 1992
an enactment of absence, violin, piano, 1995
Configurations in Darkness (improvisations on a folksong from Bosnia and Herzegovina), any ensemble, 1995
as it were, violin, double bass, percussion, 1996
Regarding the Tower of Babel (texts from definitions in a dictionary; all players also speak), any number of players, 1997
Divisions of Ground, any 3 winds/strings, piano, 2 percussion, 1998
it were another (texts by the composer, an acrostic by John Cage–Jasper Johns), violin (+ voice), 1998
Hardscrabble Songs (text by the composer), violin (+ voice), 2000
A New Song of many faces for In These Times, string quartet, 2002
where are we going when we're standing still, looking backwards?!, violin, 2002
Two Silences, any number of players, 2003
what can be said of our differences?, any 8–20 players, 2005
a meditation/responses to Charles Ives' 'Unanswered Question' (texts from the questions "why is life like this?", "pourquoi est-ce que la vie comme ça?"), violin (+ voice), 2006
out of nowhere... and there to again (text by Matsuo Bashō [English translation]), violin (+ voice), 2007
darkness becoming narrative, ensemble of strings, 2/3 percussion, 2009
the sky has many stories to tell, flute, violin, cello, piano, 2010
Espace en mouvement, any ensemble, 2010
Found Harmonies – in memoriam Jim Tenney, string quartet, 2011
Broken Canons – for Charles Ives, any ensemble, 2011
on and on and always slowly nowhere (vocalise), violin (+ voice), 2011
Illuminations from Fantastic Gardens (text by Arthur Rimbaud [translated by Louise Varèse]), 3–5 mixed voices, 1964
Overture to Fantastic Gardens (vocalise), mixed chorus, piano, 1964 (also version for mixed chorus, any number of players, 1976)
death: act or fact of dying (texts from random definitions in a dictionary), mixed chorus/any number of speakers, 1967
Yosha's Morning Song (vocalise), voice, 1973
qernerâq: our breath as bones (text by Padloq [transcribed by Knud Rasmussen]), voice, any number of players, 1986 (also version for violin [+ voice])
...out of changes: Keeping Still/Mountain (vocalise), voice, any number of players, 1994
State of the Nation (sound environment), fixed media, audience, 1967
Marin's Song, Illuminated (sound/theatre ritual, vocalise), violin (+ voice, any number of metal objects), fixed media, slide projections (by the composer), 1979–81 (concert version of stage work)
The Life Cycles of Stones (visual/aural installation, text from a 16th-century hymn from North America), violin (+ voice), fixed media, 1987
Violin Solos the (Whole) World Plays, or the 'Third' World within Us (visual/aural installation), violin, visual art (by the composer), 1992
Résonances de La Fontaine (soundscape, with musicians recording their environment), any number of players, 2012
The Edges of Sound within, 1985
Topography of a Sound Mind, 1991
between (two) spaces [zwischen (zwei) räumen], 1993
Versuch einer Gründlichen Violinschule, 1996
as it were, another, 1998
DISCOGRAPHY (recent selection)
Hardscrabble Songs. Malcolm Goldstein, voice, violin (In Situ, 2004)
Live at Puget-Ville. Malcolm Goldstein, violin; Barre Phillips, double bass (Bab-lli, 2007)
Configurations in Darkness (2 versions); Ishi/timechangingspaces; Ishi/'man waxati' Soundings. Philippe Racine, flute; Philippe Micol, bass clarinet; Radu Malfatti, trombone; Malcolm Goldstein, violin; Beat Schneider, cello (New World Records: 80676-2, 2008)
Along the way. Liu Fang, pipa (lute from China); Malcolm Goldstein, violin (Philmultic: PMPCD809, 2010)