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Richard Franko Goldman Obituary

22 Jan 1980 New York Times, p. B15


Richard Goldman, Leader of Goldman Band, Dies


By Raymond Ericson


Richard Franko Goldman, educator, composer and conductor of the Goldman Band for 24 years, died in Mercy Hospital in Baltimore Saturday night after a long illness. He was 69 years old.


Mr. Goldman was known to thousands of New Yorkers who flocked regularly during the summer months to hear the free concerts in the parks given by the Goldman Band under the auspices of the Guggenheim Foundation. He was the son of Edwin Franko Goldman, founder of the band, and he joined his father as its associate conductor in 1937. He succeeded his father as conductor upon the latter’s death in 1956.


Richard Franko Goldman changed the nature of the band’s repertory and raised the status of band music in general by commissioning works from American composers and by reviving forgotten pieces from the past. The latter ranged from music by Berlioz to popular dances from early America. Yet his programs were far from weighty. He regularly played excerpts from the Broadway musical theater.


Emphasized Entertainment

Mr. Goldman once said of his concerts: “I do tend to emphasize the entertainment rather than the educational side. Today I see the function of the band as a flourishing expression of popular culture which covers a large area form Bach to downright popular music.”


Three of his books dealt with band music: “The Band’s Music (1938), “The Concert Band” (1946) and “The Wind Band” (1961).


Mr. Goldman conducted some of last summer’s ocncerts, but his ill health made him decide to let the Goldman Band go out of existence at the end of 1979 after 62 years.


Born in New York City in 1910, Mr. Goldman was a graduate of Townsend Harris High School and Columbia University. His father let him conduct the Goldman Band when he was 19, but it did not interest him at the time; it was only later that he found it to his liking. Instead, he took off for Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. It was in Parks that he met his future wife, Alexandra Rienzi, an art student, also from New York.


As an educator, Mr. Goldman came into prominence in 1947 when he joined the faculty of the Julliard School. He was among those hired by William Schuman, then Julliard’s president, to revise radically the theory department, and he is credited with contributing importantly to the result, called the department of literature and materials of music. Mr. Goldman became the department’s chairman and stayed at Julliard until 1960. He was a visiting professor at Princeton University from 1952 to 1956. He also taught at Columbia University and New York University. In 1965, he published a textbook “Harmony in Western Music.”


He was named director of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore in 1968 and president of the following year. When he retired in 1977, he was given the title president emeritus.


Mr. Goldman’s activities extended in many directions. He composed all kinds of works, many, of course, for band. He wrote texts for some of his father’s marches. He was co-editor of “Landmarks of Early American Music (1780-1800),” and he was a collector of materials relating to the famous violinist Paganini. He served as executive director of the League of Composers.


Wrote Libretto for Opera

He wrote the libretto for Hugo Weisgall’s opera “Athaliah,” which  was based on the Racine drama. This was commissioned by the Little Orchestra Society, which presented it in concert form in 1964. He was an authority on Portuguese art, architecture and literature, and he translated Eca de Queiroz’s “The Mandarin and Other Stories.”


Mr. Goldman was New York critic for The Musical Quarterly for two decades and editor of the Julliard Review. He contributed to periodicals and music dictionaries. His reviews and articles have been collected and edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock for publication shortly by the Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College.


Among several awards received by Mr. Goldman were the Alice M. Ditson Conductor’s Award in 1961 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962.


He is survived by his wife and a son Daniel Franko of Baltimore.

Owner/SourceNew York Times
Date22 Jan 1980
Linked toRichard Franko GOLDMAN

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