Edward Ross Goldstein, a tuba player who became an authority on the brass instrument and performed at thousands of events, died of glioblastoma Friday at Gilchrist Hospice Towson. The Pikesville resident was 68.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of two musicians. His mother, Sylvia Stark, played the violin with area musicians Eugene and Leigh Martinet. His father, Oscar Mark Goldstein, received his musical training from Gustav Strube, founder of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and played violin and viola.
In an autobiographical speech, Mr. Goldstein said: “They couldn’t afford a violin, so they had a violin maker, Nicholas Vasich, live in their house for three years in return for making my mom a violin. She was proud of playing for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Baltimore memorial service at the War Memorial Plaza.”
Mr. Goldstein was raised in Forest Park and near Sinai Hospital and attended Pimlico Junior High School. He was a 1972 graduate of Northwestern High School.
“Baltimore City Schools had a superb music program coordinated by Leigh Martinet,” Mr. Goldstein said of his early education. “Every 2nd grader studied ‘Scheherazade’ [composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov] and ‘Carmen’ [composed by Georges Bizet].”
He attended the old Painters Mill Music Fair with his parents and became immersed in Broadway and pop music. He went backstage at intermission on several occasions, he recalled.
“That was thrilling for a young preteen. I met ... Isaac Hayes’ limo driver who gave me a tour of Mr. Hayes’ totally pink limousine, complete with a hot tub in the back,” he said, referring to the late soul singer.
Louis Varicchio, a high school teacher, helped introduce Mr. Goldstein to the tuba.
“My main goal when I was in high school was that I wanted to play in the circus,” he said “I joined the Baltimore Colts band in 1970 and learned the fingerings that I didn’t know yet.”
John Ziemann, president of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, said, ‘’Ed played the sousaphone in the Colts’ band. He was always passionate and friendly.”
He earned a degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music on a scholarship.
“He was generous, kind and funny,” said Judith “Judy” Daniel, his life partner. “He brought people together. When we got together, he told me I would have to share him. He wanted to give others his support.”
In November 1972, months after he graduated from high school, he went to 847 Eutaw Place and joined the local musicians’ union.
“He was gentle, brilliant and humble,” said his daughter, Leah Goldstein. “And he was open and accepting.”
The next year Baltimore band leader Zim Zemarel asked him to play at the circus.
“I practically jumped through the phone,” Mr. Goldstein said. “That was the beginning of over 250 circus performances and to a 50-year career of teaching and performing.”
He went on to play at Ice Follies shows and musicals at the old Morris A. Mechanic Theatre. He played his tuba in Broadway vehicles that required a 1920s sound — such as “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Sweet Charity.”
Mr. Goldstein also taught band and orchestra at Dulaney High School in Cockeysville before moving to Loch Raven Senior High School, where he was music department chair.
Mr. Goldstein performed with a local group, the Bourbon Street Ramblers, and was a founding member of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble. He was principal tubist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He played at the Maryland Wine Festival and at Bertha’s Mussels in Fells Point.
“Ed was respected all over the world in the tubist community,” said Jared Denhard, a musical colleague of 40 years. “He had a five-octave range. He could play the tuba with the flowing lines like a saxophone. But more importantly, he brought musicians together.”
Mr. Denhard, a trombone player, recalled how Mr. Goldstein was a force creating the Baltimore Jazz Orchestra and how it backed up singer Mel Torme at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
“He had an intuitive natural musical sense,” Mr. Denhard said. “He also had a fantastic ear and technique, and could play anything you imagine.”
He performed with the Ragtime Ensemble at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Robert “Bob” Suggs, an Annapolis musician who taught at Stevenson University, said: “Ed became a world authority on the tuba. He had friends all over the world.”
Mr. Goldstein was a founder of Maryland Tuba Christmas, where players of sousaphones, baritones, tubas and euphoniums united at the Inner Harbor to play carols.
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He was a regular guest on the WBJC-FM program “Face the Music.”
“Ed knew everybody, he was a musical force in Baltimore and a force for good,” said Jonathan Palevsky, the station’s program director.
In a speech Mr. Goldstein gave at the Musicians Union when he was awarded a lifetime achievement award, he said: “I estimate that I’ve played close to 4,000 gigs in the last 50 years. On July 4th of 1975, I played seven gigs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. In a Peabody Ragtime Ensemble tour in Massachusetts, we played 26 gigs in nine days.”
He is survived by his partner of 11 years, Judith “Judy” Daniel, a cantorial soloist and church musician, and a daughter, Leah Goldstein of Pikesville.
He was reconciled with his former wife, Janet Ruth Goldstein, a retired nurse and freelance writer.
Mr. Goldstein is also survived by his partner’s children, Andrew Olmsted of Spokane Valley, Washington, David Olmsted of Washington, D.C., and Emily Olmsted of Washington and Sam Olmsted of New Orleans, and a granddaughter, Dominique Olmsted.
Services were held Monday with music at the funeral and a New Orleans-style band at interment at Chizuk Amuno’s Arlington Cemetery.