Ed Goldstein, 68: Musician and Teacher Who ‘Lived, Laughed and Loved Large’

Ed Goldstein (Courtesy of the Goldstein Family)

News of Ed Goldstein’s death traveled swiftly across the region and on social media this past weekend, with tributes from family, friends, colleagues and former students who shared touching anecdotes about the founding member and director of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, and former tuba instructor at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He was also co-author, with R. Winston Morris, of “The Tuba Source Book.”

Goldstein, 68, died on Jan. 6 of glioblastoma.

“My dad was the best. I loved my dad so much, and he loved me so much,” Goldstein’s daughter, Leah Goldstein, told the JT in a telephone interview. “I was his only child, and I got so much of his attention and support and resources. He took me everywhere with him — all over the world for tuba conventions; he took me to school in the morning when I was a child and made pancakes for breakfast. When I was in middle school, he was a freelance musician; by the time I was in high school, he was teaching in high school. He would take me to the bus stop in the morning and make miso soup to take with me. On the days he took me all the way to school, we would get hot chocolate and rolls at Stone Mill or French fries with bagels and raw onions at Miller’s Delicatessen,” described Goldstein.

Leah Goldstein, an artist and website developer, and her partner, Nereus Alberts, moved to Baltimore County from Philadelphia two years ago, and lived with her father after his diagnosis and surgery in April 2021.

Goldstein remarked that she was touched by the outpouring of comments and tributes to her father. “He gave so much to everybody. I felt like the most important person in his life, and he was able to extend that experience of specialness to other people in his life. I am going to miss him very much. We lived together for the last two years. He is everywhere in my home; he left an incredible archive of music, records, reel to reels and his own recordings for the last five-and-a-half decades that we will make available to the community and colleagues he valued so much.”

The Goldsteins were members of Chizuk Amuno Congregation for many years, where Leah celebrated her bat mitzvah. He had recently joined Shaarei Tfiloh and was part of the professional male choir of Shaarei Tfiloh that sang during the High Holidays.

Ed Goldstein’s companion for the past 11 years, Judy Daniel, shared with the JT: “Ed was a Baltimore treasure. Born and raised in Baltimore, Baltimore was Ed’s town. He knew a guy for everything. He had friends from all times in his life and from all walks of life. Ed was so secure about his place in the world among his musician and teacher friends, as well as within the Jewish community. In 1977, Ed and I met singing in the professional choir of Chizuk Amuno, and we became fast friends. Ed’s Jewishness was a very important part of him, but nothing that he needed to prove or elaborate on. It was his history which he embraced and embodied.

“Years later, I had an epiphany that helped me understand Ed: I realized that everything about Ed was tuba-sized: his home, his collections of musical instruments, sheet music, recordings, audiophile and recording equipment. Everything about him was big. Ed took up space. He lived, laughed and loved large. He made his mark on me and everyone around him. I will forever hold Ed in my heart.”

‘A big, colorful life’

Goldstein was married to Ruth Goldstein (née Glassman), a freelance writer and retired nurse, for 34 years, from 1980 to 2014.

“We had a big, colorful life with great music parties and jazz jams, and our daughter, Leah, came to every concert since she was in infant. When she was 10 years old, she would help with mailing lists and selling CD’s, during intermissions. In the 1980s, Ed’s band won several ‘Baltimore’s Best’ awards from Baltimore magazine; he received a citation from the governor and got the very first award from the Peabody Alumni Association for his service.”

She added that “we remained friends throughout the years, and I saw him much more frequently, especially during the last few months of his illness, and reminisced a lot about old times and our daughter.”

“He was a father, a friend, a companion, and he had a tremendous presence in Baltimore’s music world,” continued Ruth Goldstein. “He was a frequent guest on Jonathan Palevsky’s [music] show on WBJC for years. He affected so many people through his music performances, his work in the union. He had a lot of public roles and played the Toys for Tots concert every year, and Tuba Christmas, and though he was huge, it was all normal for us because it was the world we lived in.”

Every year, shared his former wife, he would coordinate the Tuba Christmas event at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, bringing together 300 tuba players who, unless it was snowing, would play holiday songs for all to hear. In later years, the program also incorporated a few Chanukah tunes.

‘Integrity of oft-overlooked talent’

The JT reached out to Jari Villanueva and to Robin Faye Massie, two friends who knew Goldstein for years and whose online tributes highlighted personal stories of their collaboration and their friendship. Both gave their permission to use their words that describe Goldstein as not just musically gifted, but having a wonderful sense of humor and being a true mensch, a man of integrity and honor.

Jari Villanueva, who knew Goldstein for six decades, is the founder and director of Taps Across America, and former director and bugler for Taps for Veterans. Villanueva met Goldstein in the 1970s when they were both in high school: Goldstein at Northwestern High School and Villanueva at Patterson High School. Both, wrote Villanueva, were part of the All-Baltimore City High School Band at the time.

“Ed was a fantastic musician. He was a violinist, pianist and singer (sang in the Temple choir every Saturday), but his greatest love was playing the tuba. I always marveled at his sense of musicality and his very well-trained ear. His love of classical music and of American jazz was infectious. It was evidenced in the way he could spin classical melodies within a jazz solo. We became good friends and worked hard at getting the PRE off the ground. What followed was a lot of school concerts and many high-profile performances around Baltimore, including prime-time spots at the Baltimore City Fair,” wrote Villanueva in his tribute.

Faye Massie, a violinist and registered nurse based in Atlanta, and executive director of Musicians of Mercy, shared that Goldstein was a dear friend.

In her tribute, Faye Massie wrote: “My heart sinks further as I begin to process the loss in our artistic community and wider world. … My Ed was not only a fantastically expressive and sought-after tubist, but he quietly involved his hands in countless service projects. With his impish and self-deprecating sense of humor, he could transform the darkest valley into the sunrise over the mountaintop. As an artistic contractor and advocate for musicians’ rights, he continued this measure of selfless labor. He worked tirelessly with our musicians’ union to provide fair wages and opportunities for artists to shine, reflecting his belief in the integrity of local and oft-overlooked talent.”

It was under Goldstein’s wings, wrote Faye Massie, that she performed when Stevie Wonder came to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., during the “Songs in the Key of Life” tour. Goldstein pulled Massie aside and asked “if I would be willing to solo over a breakout section within the music. It was a violinistic duet with one of my musical life crushes and influences that I will never forget.”

Goldstein studied at the Peabody Conservatory Institute, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1976 and a master’s degree in tuba performance in 1978. He was the former tuba-euphonium instructor at Towson University from 1980 to 1997, and former principal tubist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1974 to 2018. In 2022, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore.

He is survived by his daughter, Leah Goldstein; his partner, Judy Daniel; his former spouse, Ruth Goldstein (nee Glassman); and extended family. Services were held on Jan. 9 at Sol Levinson with interment at Arlington Chizuk Amuno Cemetery.

Contributions in his memory can be made to: Shaarei Tfiloh Synagogue, 2001 Liberty Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217; or the Peabody Preparatory General Scholarship Fund, online at: www.peabody.jhu.edu/preparatory/.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here