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It was Goldman’s contention that the New York symphony and orchestra musicians in the summer bands of the time rarely rehearsed and didn’t take these performances very seriously. He saw the potential for starting a really good wind ensemble.
The Goldman Band's first concert under that name was in 1920 at Columbia University. The program was representative of Goldman’s choices in transcriptions and original works including compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, Victor Herbert, Edward MacDowell, Johan Svendsen, Ambroise Thomas, Richard Wagner, and Karl Michael Ziehrer.
For ninety-three years the Goldman Band performed free public concerts at a variety of venues in New York city, including on the Green at Columbia, Central Park, Prospect Park, and at the Guggenheim Bandshell at Lincoln Center. Famous instrumental and vocal performers appeared with the band along with guest conductors such as Percy Grainger and Vivian Dunn. Traditional and classical works were performed as well as new works for band. Goldman requested new works for band from European composers including Ottorino Respighi, Albert Roussel, and Jaromir Weinberger. With professional musicians and endowment funds from the Guggenheim Foundation, the band was able to perform in New York and also tour the U.S. and Canada and perform on radio and television.
In 1983, the Guggenheim Foundation withdrew funding to concentrate on social justice issues, and the band had to start fundraising from other sources, and shortened their season to thirty-five concerts over a seven-week period.
Conductors after Edwin Franko Goldman
After Goldman’s death at age 78 in 1956, his son, Richard Franko Goldman, took the podium until his death in 1980. Ainslee Cox followed him until his death in 1988, then Gene Young to 1997, then David Eaton to 2000, and the last conductor was Christian Wilhjelm.
Over the years a large number of famous composers have written for the band. The Goldman Band gave the first complete performance of Percy Grainger's composition Lincolnshire Posy in the summer of 1937. The first performance of Darius Milhaud’s Suite française, Op. 248 was performed by the Goldman Band on June 13, 1945. The first performance of Arnold Schoenberg's Theme and Variations for Full Band, op.43a, was performed by the Goldman Band on June 27, 1946, with Richard Franko Goldman conducting. On June 23, 1947 the band and a chorus of 200 performed the American premiere of Hector Berlioz’s Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale.
Instrumentation between 1930–1956, when the band consisted of 64 members, was four flutes, two oboes, one E-flat clarinet, one bass clarinet, nineteen clarinets (eight firsts, six seconds, five thirds), two alto saxophones, one tenor saxophones, one baritone saxophone, two bassoons, four cornets, four trumpets, five French horns, six trombones, two euphoniums, four tubas, two string basses, one harp, and three percussionists.
In 2005, the band's management sought to reduce five members from its ranks over three years to 48 players. According to Mark Heter, the band's secretary, the reduction "would not have cut any of the band's 45 tenured posts." However, the members of the band rejected the proposal on May 23. Four days later, the Goldman Memorial Band ceased operations.
- Hinckley, David (June 7, 2004). "On the mall: Edwin Franko Goldman". New York Daily News.
- See the article on "On the Mall" (Goldman's most enduring march).
- "The Goldman Memorial Band - A Brief History". The Goldman Memorial Band Musician's Web Pages. Retrieved December 25, 2005.
- "Arnold Schönberg - Catalogue of Works". Theme and Variations for Full Band, op.43a. Retrieved December 26, 2008.[dead link]
- "Goldman Band Closes Down". New York Times. May 27, 2005. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- "The End". The Goldman Memorial Band Musician's Web Pages. Retrieved December 25, 2005.