Violinist Randall Goosby has arrived – and not just at the Tiny Desk. The young Juilliard graduate is racking up debuts with the world's most important orchestras, he just pocketed the $25,000 Avery Fisher Career Grant and he can boast none other than violin legend Itzhak Perlman as his mentor. Not bad for 26 years old.
We know Goosby's star is on the rise, but the way his career got off the ground is worth mentioning. Goosby is an alum of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which, for 25 years, has helped launch many prominent musicians of color, including composers Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon, pianist Lara Downes and opera stars Davóne Tines and Will Liverman. Goosby, at age 13, was the youngest to win the Sphinx Concerto Competition.
Sphinx was also where he first performed neglected music by Black composers. "With each passing day," Goosby told NPR last year, "you can almost see this wave of reckoning, and people starting to realize the magnitude of the body of work that we've not paid attention to."
Joined by the discerning pianist Zhu Wang, Goosby begins with the Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's "Deep River," the bittersweet spiritual whose melody floats with uncommon beauty in this performance. Listen for the perfectly placed high note at the end. Goosby then tips his hat to Antonin Dvorak, the composer who suggested that American composers look to the music of African Americans for pure inspiration. The two young musicians close with "Estrellita," a bon-bon of unrequited love from Mexican composer Manuel Ponce.
With his secure technique, natural phrasing, gorgeous tone and smart programming, Randall Goosby has everything it takes to craft a major career.
TINY DESK TEAM