UPDATE: Composer, saxophonist and their child are killed in Alps

UPDATE: Composer, saxophonist and their child are killed in Alps


norman lebrecht

August 27, 2019

A British composer, his wife and their baby were killed in a light aircraft crash on Sunday over the Simplon Pass between Switzerland and Italy.

Jonathan Goldstein, 50, was a film and advertising composer who worked with Martin Scorsese, the Saatchis and many more. He rpoduced a classical album, Cyclorama, in 2012 with the Balanescu Quartet. He is also credited with working once as an assistant to the conductor Sir Neville Marriner.

His wife Hannah, 36, known as Hannah Marcinowicz (or Hannah Sax) was a saxophonist who played with leading London orchestras. The couple, who married two years ago, lived in London. Saskia, their only child, was seven months old.

In a post on Hannah’s page nine months ago, Jonathan wrote: ‘I’m never flying again’.



  • Karl says:

    That’s terrible. It seems that light aircraft are probably more dangerous to fly in than large commercial airliners, because the regulation of airlines is so extremely rigorous and strict. General aviation aircraft are not subject to quite so stringent regulation.

  • 32VS says:

    How appalling. Sympathies to their relatives and friends.

  • Bruce says:

    How awful.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    This is just absolutely dreadful. Tragic.

  • Eric Beauchamp says:

    Horrible! So sad. I just hope Mr. Goldstein was qualified to attempt a flight over the Alps. Light aircraft alpine aviation is a special challenge due to often sketchy visibility, turbulence, and strong wind shear caused by the deflection of air currents by uneven terrain. Extensive preplanning and elevated situational awareness during flight are vital. It is not for hobbyists.

    They were reportedly in a Piper PA-28, which with a ceiling of about 4500m cannot even clear some of the higher peaks in the Alps. The PA-28 is unpressurized, so a cruising altitude of about 2500m would be typical. Thus, the pilot would carefully plan and follow a route up valleys, and over lower ridges and passes, while making certain that each ridge is approached at the correct angle and with at least 300 meters of vertical clearance. As the plane went down near Simplon Pass it seems to me that Goldstein was on the right track. I would assume he went Lausanne – Martigny – Brig – Simplon.

    However, there’s much to remember, and if conditions get a bit tense, one can make mistakes. And little mistakes and lapses compound and create more anxiety, which can lead to more lapses. I can imagine Goldstein may have been lulled into complacency by the relative ease and awe-inspiring beauty of the route up to Brig, which follows the deep valley between the Bernese Oberland and Pennine Alps, then was caught off guard as he crossed high terrain.

    Unfortunately this is almost certainly pilot error due to the location. To be honest, I would not take my family in a Piper PA-28 over the Alps unless I was extremely familiar with the route and the weather was good. I speak from experience. I am a pilot with a major North American airline and have been flying in one way or another since I was 16, so 39 years. -Eric A. Beauchamp, Vancouver BC.

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      Ego and overconfidence has much to do with this tragic accident.

      If the flying conditions were that treacherous, he should have stayed on the ground and waited.

      His wife should have told him not to fly that day for the sake of the family.

      • Charlotte Whight says:

        Please bear in mind when writing comments that people who knew the victims of this tragic event are reading them.

        My understanding is that the causes of the event have not yet been established so cannot be stated as fact.

  • Silversled says:

    How very, very sad.

  • John Borstlap says:

    A truly terrible story. But much worse for the child, because it had no say in the event.