Meet violinist Randall Goosby, the Itzhak Perlman protégé set to inspire a generation

14 October 2020, 09:54

Violinist Randall Goosby has been signed to Decca Classics
Violinist Randall Goosby has been signed to Decca Classics. Picture: Kaupo Kikkas

By Rosie Pentreath

The charismatic 24-year-old violinist has just signed with Decca Classics and is dedicated to using music ‘to inspire others’.

As well as playing in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls already, American violinist Randall Goosby is a passionate advocate for diversity in classical music, a champion for music education, and a performer who looks out for opportunities to inspire people at every turn, through initiatives such as Project: Music Heals Us and London Music Masters.

“For me, personally, music has been a way for me to inspire others,” Goosby says.

And he’s just signed with Decca Classics. Just 24 years old at the time of the signing, the charismatic violinist has already made his Carnegie and Wigmore Hall debuts, been the youngest ever Sphinx Concerto Competition winner, been the first Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) Robey artist, and appeared on stage with the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman.

“I’m so excited to join such an esteemed roster, and even more excited to start recording my first album,” he says of his Decca signing. Here’s everything you need to know…

Who is Randall Goosby?

Randall Goosby was born in 1996 to an African-American father and Korean mother. He began learning the violin at the age of seven, and by nine had made his debut performance with an orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony.

At 13 he played with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall (previously, Avery Fisher Hall) in New York’s Lincoln Center, The New York Times describing him as having “a masterly level of control” and “an exquisite tone” during his prodigious appearance. “His performance won him a deserved standing ovation for its sheer virtuosity,” the Times said.

He entered and won the Sphinx Organization’s prestigious Concerto Competition in the US at just 13. Sphinx has also awarded him the Isaac Stern Award, and invited him to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of its Young Artist Development Program.

In 2018, he was a prize winner at the Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions, and this led to him becoming a Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) artist in London in 2019.

Where has he performed?

On top of his Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall debuts in New York, Randall Goosby has performed at Wigmore Hall in London and with several major US orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic and Nashville Symphony, as well as with his teacher, the great Itzhak Perlman, and the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.

Where did he study?

Goosby started on the violin at the age of seven. He was encouraged by his teacher to join the Perlman Music Program, and that led to him taking up a scholarship with the Juilliard’s junior programme, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho until he graduated. He completed a Masters at Juilliard too – with Donald Weilerstein and Laurie Smukler – and is currently enrolled there for his diploma, continuing studies with Perlman and Cho.

He’s currently a YCAT artist and has also attended summer schools around the world, including Verbier Festival Academy and Mozarteum Summer Academy.

What violin does Randall play on?

Goosby plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, loaned by the Stradivari Society. He’s closely associated with the society, and has been honoured as a ‘Rising Star of the Stradivari Society’.

Before that, he played a Guadagnini violin on loan from The Juilliard School.

Randall Goosby is a protégé of great violinist Itzhak Perlman
Randall Goosby is a protégé of great violinist Itzhak Perlman. Picture: Kaupo Kikkas

Passion for music education

Randall Goosby became an Ambassador for the charity London Music Masters in 2020, a role that sees him mentoring and inspiring students in schools around the UK.

He has also played as part of ‘Concerts in Motion’, which brings concerts to elderly and homebound people, and ‘Project: Music Heals Us’, which currently gives private concerts to people with COVID-19.

Signing with Decca Classics

On 14 October 2020, Randall Goosby signed with Decca Classics, and announced an upcoming album of music by African-American composers, including William Grant Still, Florence Price and Xavier Foley.

“I’m so thrilled to be working with the Decca Classics team for the release of my debut album,” Goosby has said. “It’s a record label that has been home to some of my favourite artists and musical role models.

“For me, music has always been a way to inspire others. It’s part of my quest as an artist to amplify black voices in classical music, bringing heightened recognition to this incredible music.”

Dominic Fyfe, label director at Decca, added: “It’s rare to find such a supremely eloquent player and an equally articulate advocate for the value of classical music. In his playing Randall looks back to a golden age of violin greats, as befits a student of Itzhak Perlman, and in his advocacy for music education, outreach and diversity he is a forward-looking ambassador for the future of our industry.”

Awards and prizes

As well as being part of YCAT as the inaugural YCAT Robey artist, Goosby was the youngest Sphinx Concerto Competition winner, and has prizes from the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Harriman-Jewell Series, Vancouver Society, LP Classics and Sander Buchman under his belt.

He has been honoured as ‘Rising Star’ of the Stradivari Society.