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January 19, 2010

A cellist with a future: Hans Kristian Goldstein

Of course it's insane to predict any musician's career, but what the heck. I say that cellist Hans Kristian Goldstein, the Peabody student who won the 2009 Yale Gordon Competition at the conservatory, will make it. He seems to me to have everything it takes to develop a career -- not just the raw talent, but the keen artistic impulses.

Oh yes, the Norwegian player, barely into his 20s, also has some marketing assets, which can't be discounted in the era of the superficial -- boyishly handsome looks and a rather evocative name.

Goldstein gave an impressive recital Sunday afternoon for the Music in the Great Hall series at Towson Unitarian; it also turned out to be a warm-up for a competition he has been accepted into in South Africa. That connection generated the sole contemporary item on the program, a brief, appealing, rhythmically propulsive romp by 35-year-old South African composer Bongani Ndona-Breen, "Jozi Dreamtime."

It would have been interesting to hear Goldstein tackle

some big 20th-century score, too, but that was a minor disappointment. The recital afforded an opportunity for the the cellist to show off his deep, burnished tone, and many subtle dynamic gradations of it; his intonation and articulation also proved to be considerable strengths. He never settled for merely skillful playing. He made something of phrases, and connected phrases into full, meaningful statements.

A highlight of the afternoon was his lyrical touch in Schubert's "Arpeggione"; the wistful quality he generated in the subdued closing measures proved particularly telling. Goldstein was well-partnered in that work, as throughout the concert, by the ever-reliable pianist Clinton Adams. The two musicians caught the boldness and beauty of Beethoven's A major Sonata and tapped the romantic charms of some pieces by Schumann.

The cellist treated a Boccherini sonata as if it were fully on a Mozart-worthy level, and that's how it sounded, thanks to his warmly expressive nuances. Goldstein's bravura side found vivid outlets in pieces by Tchaikovsky and David Popper. The encore, Ernest Bloch's "Prayer," received an eloquent performance.

All in all, a most satisfying encounter with young, fresh, promising talent.

P.S. Goldstein will give a free recital, presented by the Shriver Hall Concert Series, on May 8 at the BMA.


Posted by Tim Smith at 7:07 AM | | Comments (3)


Hans Kristian Goldstein will be making his Chicago debut on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts on Wednesday, April 14 in a program of Beethoven and Brahms with pianist Clinton Adams. The concert is broadcast live on WMFT 98.7 FM in Chicago and streamed live at For more information on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, visit

Thanks for passing along the info. TIM

Hans Kristian Goldstein and Clinton Adams will perform Friends of Chamber Music Inc Beethoven Variations(bei mannern), Sonata F Major op 69, Brahms F Major Sonata op 99 410 321 0553

Friends of Chamber Music concert April 10 at 7:30pm 1430 francke ave lutherville 410 321-0553

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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