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COLLABORATIVE COMPOSITION: CREATED IN THE MOMENT Album Showcases William Goldstein & Guest Soloists


The album is being distributed by The Orchard on September 24, 2021.

COLLABORATIVE COMPOSITION: CREATED IN THE MOMENT Album Showcases William Goldstein & Guest Soloists

Composer William Goldstein possesses a rare gift. He can sit down at the piano and instantly and without hesitation create a complex, fully formed musical composition, 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 showcases Goldstein engaging in a spontaneous dialogue with a second musician, the two trading ideas to produce structurally and emotionally compelling works of art. The album is being distributed by The Orchard on September 24, 2021.

The new recording highlights seven artists who collaborated with Goldstein in this high-wire musical act. Unlike jazz improvisations, which take off from an existing theme, beat or melody, these intricate works are created from whole cloth-without any predefined form, style or direction. The album's eleven instant compositions, taken from previously released Goldstein albums, were recorded live as they occurred in studio, except for one piano and violin selection, which was created before an astounded live audience.

While Goldstein may not be a household name, critics and dedicated fans have embraced Goldstein's work and unique talent, and his recordings average a whopping 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 such superstars as Lang Lang and Vladimir Horowitz on the Amazon solo classical 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 him a long time to realize that his was a truly exceptional talent, despite releasing albums of instant composition. We know that the great 17th and 18th composers improvised during their concerts, but we have no recordings of their achievements. Goldstein's own "Aha" moment came when he served as jury president and guest artist at Poland's 2011 Instant Composition Competition at the Transatlantyck Festival. The event underscored that even among esteemed colleagues, his facility for this lost art was unmatched.

Perhaps that's why Goldstein was skeptical when friend and fellow musician James DiPasquale suggested creating an instant composition together. DiPasquale persisted and a reluctant Goldstein gave it a go. The result is a kind of musical alchemy as "Collaborative Composition: Created in the Moment" clearly attests. 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 from Paul McCartney's Wings, 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 at a live concert.

The common denominator in 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. Essentially we're having a simultaneous conversation. Each of my collaborative compositions are unique because I'm working with different artists and that colors and changes everything."

Think of Goldstein as the Swiss army knife of the musical world. In an eclectic and distinguished career that spans six decades, he has done it all, with a resume that includes enough "the first," "the only," and "the youngest," not to mention numerous accolades, for a dozen careers. Unsurprisingly, his musical talent surfaced at an early age. He could play by ear by the time he was three, perform the scores of films he had seen once at age eight, and at nine came to the attention of Columbia University's Teachers College, where he was interviewed and evaluated. Goldstein was somehow able to develop a classical technique without ever taking piano lessons and wrote his first orchestral work at 18. Success and recognition came quickly, almost before he was out of his teens, and has never flagged.

Crossing genres and styles­­, from classical to jazz and almost everything in between, the Emmy-nominated Goldstein has scored over 50 movies and television shows, among them all the episodes of NBC-TV's "Fame," "Twilight Zone" and Disney's remake of "The Miracle Worker." Discovered by Berry Gordy, he is the only recording artist signed to both Motown and CBS Masterworks. His own label is distributed worldwide by The Orchard and has a catalogue of more than 60 albums. Goldstein created the first interactive computer game score and his pioneering technology ­­achievements-he composed the first completely computer-sequenced, direct-to-digital score for the NBC series "Qceanquest"-still influence today's recording process. As a founding director of the California State Summer School for the Arts, he has worked to get talented inner-city youth into summer music programs. A documentary about Goldstein is currently in production.

Goldstein has drawn on his talent for creating compositions from scratch in concerts, recitals and master classes, where he might create in real time a ballet with dancers, hold a musical conversation with singers or score a short film, watching it for the first time and simultaneously scoring it from opening frame to last. One Goldstein collaborator, dancer Qi Zhang, puts it this way: "Improvisation mimics life. It represents a moment in time that can't be duplicated. The previous second can't be repeated and the next second cannot be predicted."

Undeniably, Goldstein's live performances are where his magic really comes to the fore, leaving audiences awestruck and wondering "how does he do that?" He invites individuals to join him on stage and pick three random notes. On the spot, he comes up with an impromptu musical portrait that most participants say reflects some deep, inner quality of their lives.

Even Goldstein isn't exactly sure about what's going on. "I'm not consciously trying to capture their life story but there's an emotional connection that happens," the composer says. Goldstein has released several albums based on his three-note instant 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, composing and concerts, what continues to drive Goldstein is a mission to help others access their talents. "I've been told many times in my classes that I've changed people's lives," he says. "I can't teach the talent that I was born with, but I can explain what I'm actually doing, so that others can try to master those techniques, bringing them closer to expressing their ideas in real time. I believe that musical expression and creative expression are languages just like the spoken language. My advice is simple: Learn the vocabulary of your art, learn the technique of your instrument, and focus on that until you get to the point where you can express yourself in your art as easily and naturally as you do when speaking."

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 give them meaning."

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