Mourning for eminent violin professor

Mourning for eminent violin professor


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2020

Friends are reporting the death of Kenneth Goldsmith, professor of violin at the Shepherd School of Music until his retirement less than two months ago. He was described then as ‘one of our country’s most respected practitioners and pedagogues for more than half a century’.

Houston Symphony principal cellist Brinton Smith writes: ‘Really crushed to hear of the death of Ken Goldsmith. We shared a studio at Rice these last two years and I loved living among the walls decorated with his memories and memorabilia of the greatest musicians of history. We were living in his world and we loved it. Such a kind, decent man- really the epitome of a mensch. The world is a lesser place without him in it…’

Ken Goldsmith became the youngest member of the Detroit Symphony at 19, before serving as concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony, among others. He taught at Stanford University (1966-71), CalState Fullerton (1971-75), Pomona College (1974-75), CalState Irvine (1974-75), Grinnell College (1975-87), University of Houston (1987-1991), and from 1991 at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

His students can be found in most major US orchestras – Chicago, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Pittsburgh and the Met.


  • He was truly a master teacher. His teaching was incredibly clear and concise, with an astounding wealth of knowledge, and he was very devoted to his students. Remembering him with gratitude, he will be deeply missed.

  • guest5 says:

    I was lucky enough to study chamber music with him for many semesters — he was always so generous with his time, and cared so much about every little detail of the music. He will be greatly missed by everyone who was lucky to spend time with him.

  • David Sanders says:

    What does this mean?

    His students can be found in students in major orchestras”

    Is it his student’s students who are in the orchestras?

  • Nick says:

    UC Irvine, not CalState, fyi 🙂

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Wow. To die two months after retiring.

    Very sad new.

  • Mr. Goldsmith was a master teacher, as well as an extraordinary musician and chamber music coach. His recordings with the Mirecourt Trio (with Terry King, cello and John Jenson, piano) remain some of my all-time favorite recordings.

    I owe so much of my life and career in music to his faith, mentoring, and outstanding pedagogy. Incredible soul, wonderful personality, genuine Mensch.

    Thank you, Mr. G.

    David Wallace

    Chair, String Department, Berklee College of Music; former faculty, the Juilliard School;
    Violist, Hat Trick Trio; violinist, The Doc Wallace Trio

  • For excellent examples, of Mr. Goldsmith’s playing, this YouTube channel has many of his records with the Mirecourt Trio:

    I especially love the trio’s numerous commissions (Lou Harrison, Rick Sowash, Paul Realse. . .); their Brahms B major trio remains my all-time favorite.

  • Josie C says:

    This man was a rapist, an abuser, and a sick monster. Under the cloak of clout and societal power in the music community, he was never rightfully convicted. This man has ruined lives.