A man from northern Naples is back in the Olympic spotlight. This time the composer Alex Goldstein composed the music for the Israeli team for rhythmic gymnastics. Goldstein has been composing the scores for Olympic athletes since 1980. In 2014 he composed the music for 26 ice skaters from 11 countries. Many of the athletes he has worked with have won gold medals. His best-known customers include the US figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Gracie Gold as well as the ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White as well as Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.
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For the Israeli rhythmic gymnastics team, Goldstein puts together music for both individual athletes and group events. The composer said it was a great balancing act between finding music that the athletes like and the music that goes well with their routines.
“They like a certain kind of music,” he said. “When you’re happy, you do everything so much better.”
Goldstein saw major changes in Olympic music and was part of it. In 1980 the Russian gymnastics team switched from live piano music to music recording.
“It was a very painful process for everyone because the pianist can see everyone and wait for everyone and the tape cannot wait,” he explained. “At first you hardly believed that I could do something like that. When I practically repeated what the piano player was doing, they began to believe me. So I changed all of the music for the Olympics and after that there was no going back. I have shown what is possible. “
Goldstein worked with cutting and gluing duct tape for years. Now he does everything on the computer.
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“When I got the computer training, I found out you can do a lot, a lot more than I could on tape,” he said. “The possibilities are enormous.”
Natalia Bestemianova is a former Russian figure skater who won the Olympic gold medal with her partner Andrei Bukin in 1988. She is also 1984 Olympic runner-up, four-time world champion, three-time silver medalist and five-time European champion. Goldstein created her Olympic music and continues to compose scores for it.
“I’ve known Alex since I was 16 years old and I’ve always been impressed by the music he prepared for the Olympic champions,” she said of a translator. “During my ice dancing career with my partner Anrdrei Bukin, Maestro Goldstein has done many of our competitive music programs, including the arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on The Theme of Paganini, which was specially recorded by an orchestra from Alex’s score. After we stopped taking part in competitions, Alex did a lot of musical numbers for our appearances in the company that we founded with my husband, Bobrin’s Ice Theater. We work with him constantly when we choreograph programs for current figure skating competitors and are always impressed by his outstanding professionalism. “
Goldstein’s whole life was immortalized in music.
“I grew up in an apartment building with 72 apartments and 65 were occupied by musicians,” he began when describing his childhood in Moscow.
His father was a French horn player in the Bolshoi Orchestra and his uncle played French horn for the Red Army Theater.
“There were three flute players above our apartment; there was a piano player among us. On one side there was a maestro of the Russian theater, a violin player, on the other a bassoonist and my friends all studied music, so I had no choice. “
When Goldstein was only six years old, he began his studies at the Gnesin School of Music in Moscow, one of the most renowned music education centers in the world. He completed his musical education with a master’s degree in conducting, composing and French horn at the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music.
Goldstein moved from Moscow to New York City in 1991. He and his wife moved to Naples in 2005, where the Russian-American musical composer, conductor, songwriter, record producer, film producer, director, editor and founder of ABG World and SportMusic.com continues to produce documentaries and composes music.
His references make a long list. He has composed music for more than 25 feature films, classic silent films, approximately 300 documentaries, animated films, as well as radio and television shows, circus and stage shows, commercials and sports programs around the world. He has won numerous Herme and Telly awards for his films. He could have won more.
“After getting 10 awards, I don’t spend time submitting my films for awards,” he said. “There is not enough space.”
Goldstein worked remotely for this month’s Olympics. The team sends him videos of the routines. They make some music suggestions and he makes some recommendations. Then he sits in his office in the north of Naples, surrounded by professional computers, and gets to work. He says his experience helps make the job go smoothly and quickly.
“I’ve had enough experience to predict what’s comfortable and what’s not,” he said. “It’s a question of technology. If you know how to do it, it’s not a problem. In order to create a proper program, the person must have a very good musical education. Music school is not enough. You need to know the composition and analysis of the musical form. When you listen to music, you need to understand its construction. I do it pretty quickly because it’s enough for me to hear the whole composition and imagine a new structure and imagine how it’s done. “
It’s also about understanding the athletes and the routines.
“Sometimes it’s easier to have different types of music for different types of movement,” he explained. “Sometimes I have music and need to add different sounds or drums to make a better connection or to add more accent to the performance in a particular location. So I add some accent and music and it becomes a lot more logical for the performer and the audience. “
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While the Summer Olympics in Tokyo are only just beginning, Goldstein is now looking to the 2022 Winter Olympics. Now he’s working on the music for individual and pair ice skating and ice dancing competitions. He will create points for teams from the United States, Russia, and Japan, and perhaps a few more countries, depending on the athletes making up the teams.
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