The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Guest blogger Sig Midelfort says the viola and violin shined in a recent Carnegie Hall recital, thanks to University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni Elias Goldstein and Roxana Pavel Goldstein

March 6, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is a review by guest blogger Sigurd “Sig” Midelfort, a good friend of the blog and of classical music in the Madison area.

Sig is a retired CPA who has spent a number of years with non-profits.  He adds: “Right now, that means I’m doing and have done volunteer work — with the Democratic Party of Dane County, Madison Music Makers Inc, a local environmental group and an orchestra in the western suburbs of Chicago.  (I also was a history major as an undergrad, have a masters in economic development, was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania for three years, and so on.)  All the time I have been interested in the local classical music scene, playing in amateur groups for decades.”

Sig recently attended a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and asked if he could file this review of performers who have local ties and local interest.

It proved too good to resist. Enjoy!

By Sigurd Midelfort

Two recent University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral graduates participated in a lustrous viola recital on February 19 at Carnegie Hall (below) in New York City.


Violist Elias Goldstein, now a professor at Louisiana State University who received his DMA from the UW-Madison in 2011 performed and received assistance on the violin from Roxana Pavel Goldstein, his wife (she received her DMA from the UW-Madison in 2012) and from Ieva Jokubaviciute, a Lithuanian pianist. (They are below, in a photo by Daniel Balan.)

Elias and Roxana Pavel Goldstein in Carnegie Hall CR Daniel Balan

Elias began the evening, playing an unaccompanied sonata for viola, Op. 25, No. 1, by Paul Hindemith.  Roxana (below) joined him in two duos for violin and viola: one, a three-movement duet in G Major, K. 423, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the other, a “Passacaglia” by George Frideric Handel as arranged by the 19th-century Norwegian composer and conductor Johan Halvorsen.

Roxana Pavel Goldstein

After intermission, Elias and Ieva performed three works for viola and piano: a divertimento in three movements by Franz Joseph Haydn, as arranged by the famous cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and the famous violist William Primrose (below); a sonata (No. 6 in A major) in two movements by Luigi Boccherini, as arranged by Primrose; and the famous Caprice No. 24 by the legendary Nicolo Paganini –- it has been used for theme and variations by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Witold Lutoslawski — also as transcribed for viola by Primrose. (The caprice, taken at a quasi presto tempo, is hard enough for violin, its original instrument. For viola?  Well, one can imagine the difficulties it presented.)

William Primrose  BYU (Submission date: 05/19/2005)

I was not an unbiased observer. Elias is a distant relative, and I have been a passionate amateur cellist my entire life.  Nonetheless, Elias’ tone was stunning. His playing was mellow and warm, round and resonant, displaying an ease and mastery of technique that is unusual for even the most accomplished performers.

Elias holds recent top prizes in the following international viola competitions: the Primrose, the Yuri Bashmet, the Lionel Tertis, the Watson Forbes and the Andrews University String Competition. In 2011, he made his Russian debut with the Moscow Soloists and the New Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Sladkovsky.

While at the UW-Madison School of Music, Elias was a student of Sally Chisholm of the Pro Arte Quartet.

elias goldstein 2

Although the viola (below) generally has a lower public profile, in the hands of such an artist as Elias it stands as an equal of, or is even superior to, the violin or cello in terms of its quality of sound.


Roxana, too, is a superb artist, playing with considerable warmth and sensitivity on the violin. Originally from Romania, she worked at the UW-Madison with David Perry, first violinist of the Pro Arte Quartet, doing research on Romanian tunes and folk music as expressed on the violin.

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Classical music: This coming Sunday night brings a MUST-HEAR chamber music concert of Schubert and Brahms that is FREE and open to the public. It features faculty members and Collins Fellow at the UW-Madison.

April 3, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Sunday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall there will be an extraordinary concert of Romantic chamber music that features both UW-Madison faculty members and Collins Fellows.

Unfortunately, it is on the same day as a Madison Symphony Orchestra’s afternoon performance. Still, this concert is a MUST-HEAR and I hope you can make it.

The concert will feature UW faculty members violinist David Perry, pianist Christopher Taylor (below top) and cellist Uri Vardi (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).



Additionally, the concert will feature Collins Fellows violinist Roxana Pavel (below), violist Elias Goldstein  and cellist Philip Bergman.

roxana pavel

The program couldn’t be more appealing. It offers two of the greatest masterpieces of Romantic chamber music: Franz Schubert’s sublime String Quintet in C major (D. 956, or Opus posthumous 163) for two violins, viola and cello; and Johannes Brahms’ dramatic Piano Quintet in F minor,  Opus 34. (The Scherzo movement of the Brahms is in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Here is some background about the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, thanks to the UW School of Music and its new Concert Manager and Director of Public Relations Kathy Esposito:

The Collins fellowships have been established through the generosity of Paul J. Collins (below) in honor of his mother, Adele Stoppenbach Collins, a 1929 School of Music graduate. Students are nominated by faculty members.

The fellowships are awarded to outstanding graduate performance majors and are determined by a committee of performance faculty.

Paul J. Collins

Collins Awards guarantee two years of support at the master’s level and three years at the doctoral level, contingent upon full-time study and satisfactory progress in the degree program. These awards are sufficient to provide the financial support needed for a single international student to obtain a visa.

And here is more information about Elias Goldstein (below):

He won second prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 2011 and recently made his Russian debut with the Moscow Soloists and the New Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Slatkovsky. He took second prize at the Yuri Bashmet International Viola Competition, and was also a top prizewinner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010. He has also won top and special prizes at the Andrews University International String Competition, and the Watson Forbes International Viola Competition in 2009.

elias goldstein 2

He holds degrees from DePaul University (M.M.) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (D.M.A.) where he was a Collins Fellow. He has studied with Mark Zinger and with UW-Madison viola teacher and Pro Arte Quartet violist Sally Chisholm. While at the UW, he won Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition in 2009.

Sally Chisholm

As a soloist with orchestras, Goldstein has appeared with the Moscow Soloists under the direction of Yuri Bashmet, New Moscow Philharmonic, New Mexico Chamber Orchestra, Advent Chamber Orchestra, the Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra, and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra, where he won the annual concerto competition twice.

Goldstein is currently assistant professor of viola at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Here is a link to his website:

Classical music news: Breakfast fundraiser on Sunday will benefit choral programs at Middleton High School. Madison Opera’s “Galileo” is almost sold-out. Prize-winning UW violist Elias Goldstein returns to “Sunday Live From the Chazen.”

January 25, 2012
1 Comment

ALERTS: The Madison Opera‘s production of Philip Glass‘ “Galileo” has sold out three of the four performances this week. The only remaining seats available are for the performance on THURSDAY night at 8 p.m. in the Overture Center‘s Playhouse. Call (608) 238-8085. ALSO: This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” will feature prize-winning violist Elias Goldstein in a program of Mozart, Martinu and Spohr from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcasts live by Wisconsin Public Radio. Goldstein, a former student of UW Professor Sally Chisholm, won second prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 2011 and took second prize at the Bashmet International Viola Competition. He was also a top prize winner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010.

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s hard times and they are only getting harder for music education programs in the public schools.

That’s why I am posting this invitation to a local fundraiser this Sunday:

“The 18th Annual Country Breakfast will be held Sunday, January 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Middleton High School Student Center at 2100 Bristol Street in Middleton.

“The highlight of the breakfast will be individual and group performances (below) from students participating in the MHS Concert Choir, Cantus, Cardinal Choir and Chamber Singers throughout the entire day.

“Check out the schedule at to find out when your favorite MHS singer is performing!  All the proceeds go toward increasing musical opportunities for students participating in all four groups.

“Come enjoy all you can eat pancakes plus ham, eggs, fresh oranges and beverages.  Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children (10 and under), and will be available at the door.

“A silent auction will feature sports memorabilia, handcrafted items, jewelry, restaurant packages, event tickets and much, much more.

“This is the Choral Music Program’s annual fundraising event sponsored by the MHS Choral Boosters and many local businesses and friends including Tom and MaryBeth  Haunty, Huntington Learning Services,  James Lord, D.D.S., Mays Law Office, L.L.C, Pohlkamp & Associates, Sprechers Restaurant & Pub, SVA Certified Public Accountants, State Bank of Cross Plains,  Willy Street Co-op, Barriques and The Printing Place, Inc.       

“Questions can be directed to or Karen Stodola at 836-1105.

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