Born: December 6, 1893 Died: March 1, 1972
This Paris-born conductor came to play an important role in American musical life, leading one of its major orchestras for a quarter century. He established an early reputation for quick study and thoroughness; before he had turned 30, Golschmann had successfully conducted in many of Europe's leading venues. Russian-French in heritage, Golschmann was identified as musically gifted at an early age, causing his parents to seek for him the best education they could. Entering the Paris Schola Cantorum, he profited from studies with Caussade and Paul de Saunieres. As a student violinist, he performed not only with the school's own symphony, but also with the Lamoureux and Pasdeloup ensembles, both highly respected orchestras during that time. At age 23, he was invited into a small orchestra and in the process, became a colleague of such budding celebrities as José Iturbi and Jacques Thibaud. Shortly after substituting for the director during one performance, Golschmann was introduced to Albert Verley, an amateur player of substantial means. Impressed, Verley underwrote the expense of an orchestra for the young conductor. In 1919, the Concerts Golschmann debuted and quickly gained an impressive reputation for its performances of contemporary music. Golschmann became a champion of Les Six. Guest performances with the Pasdeloup Orchestre and Paris Symphonie led the French government to appoint him director of musical activities at the Sorbonne, where he led another acclaimed series of concerts. Through success in guest appearances at venues from Oslo to Madrid, Golschmann was engaged as a conductor for the Ballets Russes and won favor for his concert series in Brussels. Upon becoming music director of the Bériza Theatre, he continued his advocacy of new music, this time introducing several small-scale operas written by French composers. Golschmann's American tour with a visiting ballet company produced an invitation from Walter Damrosch to conduct a non-subscription concert for the New York Symphony Society. Golschmann met success with both the audience and critics. Lawrence Gilman cited his "vitality, his command of the orchestra, his power and intensity" in calling him "a magnetic, stimulating conductor." For two years, Golschmann was a guest conductor for the society's programs, but thereafter devoted himself primarily to European assignments, including serving as conductor of the Scottish Orchestra (predecessor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) from 1928 to 1930. A glowingly received guest appearance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1931 resulted in a permanent appointment that lasted a remarkable 25 years. The orchestra's board, searching for a new music director, heard Golschmann's performance as conclusive and quickly offered him the post. During his fruitful tenure with the orchestra, Golschmann took up residency in the United States and became an American citizen in 1947. He continued to serve the cause of modern music, introducing works by such interesting, but relatively obscure composers as Rathaus, Tansman, Jaubert, Konstantinov, Mihalovici, and Delannoy. Golschmann initiated New York's Stadium season in 1937 and became a familiar guest conductor with other American orchestras, often directing summer festival performances in such parks as Ravinia and Robin Hood Dell. While continuing to conduct in St. Louis after 1956, he became musical director in Tulsa in 1958 and served the Denver Symphony Orchestra (now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra) as music director from 1964 to 1970.