Reviews & References

Ai Goldsmith is a fine, distinguished flutist… Goldsmith’s tone and articulation are world-class. She is a sensitive and erudite artist, a fact on display in her literate and informative program notes … Goldsmith is an especially communicative artist. The Exquisite Allegories exhibits a flutist at the peak of her powers, bringing to life music as haunting as it is rarely heard… [Fantasie by Carl Frühling] is a work of late Romantic passion, with an aristocratic air to the flute writing. Goldsmith and Miles Graber shape it with delicacy and understanding, staying aware throughout of the overall mood… The performance [of the Variations on a Theme by Grieg by Walter Gieseking] is as exquisite as the CD’s title…Goldsmith’s playing [of Litanay for All Souls’ Day by Schubert] marries ease with passion…The Exquisite Allegories at its best…is sheer poetry. Ai Goldsmith and Miles Graber have created a rich listening experience. Highly recommended.
— Dave Saemann, Fanfare
My Want List this year features, not by design, duos and solos. The Exquisite Allegories by flutist Ai Goldsmith and pianist Miles Graber is exquisite in a number of ways. Goldsmith possesses a lovely tone and radiant musicality that bring to life what might be considered obscure corners of the flute repertoire. In her hands the music of Walter Gieseking and Carl Frühling take on a poetic dimension one hardly would have expected.
— Dave Saemann, Fanfare, from the critic’s Want List, November 2017
…what we have here in this recital by Ai Goldsmith and Miles Graber is a highly unusual and really fascinating collection of works for flute and piano… Her playing on this album is characterized by a bright, open tone, tempered by an ultra-smooth legato, very clean and controlled tonguing, and exceptionally even transitioning between her instrument’s registers, all of which mitigates any tendency towards metallic shrillness or piping one sometimes encounters with the flute, and which contributes to a suave elegance of execution and sophisticated style of music-making that really suit and enhance these works. Beautifully done…very strongly recommended.
— Jerry Dubins, Fanfare
Goldsmith’s direct approach to playing the flute is perfect for the big, expansive opening, reminiscent of the opening moments of Chaminade’s Concertino and Eldin Burton’s Sonatina. This directness, which I might characterize as letting the music speak for itself, also works particularly well in the opening movement of the Sonatine by Walter Gieseking....

Where it is perhaps most effective is in Schubert’s Litany for All Souls’ Day, which Goldsmith dedicated to her mother, who died in 2012, and which she plays with respectful simplicity, allowing the beauty and the sadness of the music to resonate and touch us.

There are also many moments of stunning virtuosity, which Goldsmith and Graber play with control and authority.
— Allan Pulker, The Whole Note (Canada)
This is the key to Ai Goldsmith’s playing: Like some pianists (say, Pires or Uchida), she seems incapable of an unmusical phrase. This, coupled with a search for musical truth and firm belief in the music she plays leads to impeccably satisfying results… Goldsmith’s own convincing way with phrasing and her ease of delivery, make this a wonderfully powerful case for a reappraisal of this composer (Frühling)…Goldsmith and Graber prolong the atmosphere impeccably, while the sprightly, playful yet fluid Sixth Variation intrigues: certainly, it rewards repeated listenings …The recording (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California in April 2016) is excellent; perhaps the highest compliment is that one hardly notices it and concentrates instead on the flow of music…Perhaps the world “flow” is the key; the disc emerges as a thought-through program that leaves a most satisfying afterglow.
— Colin Clarke, Fanfare
Throughout the recording [The Exquisite Allegories] Goldsmith shares her beautiful sound and subtle phrasing. A special highlight is her performance of the Litany for All Souls’ Day by Franz Schubert.
— Flute Talk Magazine, November 2017
Having the pleasure to hear Ai Goldsmith’s performance at the recent Florida Flute Convention, I was left, yet again, with the endlessly impossible, unanswerable question: How can we explain the unique qualities of sonority in another’s flute playing? Where does that sound come from, whether delicate, richly layered, shimmery, bold and fiesty,  or hauntingly beautiful? And I was delighted to be pondering all of this whilst listening to Ai Goldsmith, because she could do all this with her sound! Her recital was memorable because of her abilities to project ideas and sonorousness from beginning to end. I hope that I will have the pleasure of hearing more from Ms. Goldsmith.
— Ms. Carol Wincenc, International Concert Flutist & Professor of Flute at Juilliard School of Music & Stony Brook, NY
I came to know you, who was hitherto unknown to me, in a recent concert....  What clarity and warmth in the tone color, clarity of thought in the interpretation/performance, and agile rhythmic sense. A superb musician stood in front of me. You voiced relevant and insightful suggestions in all the important sections of the piece during the rehearsal of the Suite in B Minor by Bach, and realized a wonderful performance of the work.  I was in awe.  I look forward with anticipation to the many new activities that are to come as your career unfolds. Viva Ai!
— Mr. Yasutomi Koshi, Vice President of Japan Bassoon Society & retired Principal Bassoonist of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
I was so thrilled to hear your playing…. You have such great determination, creativity and musicality.  It was a real “high” for me to listen to you…. I was inspired by what you shared with us, and I just want to thank you most sincerely for providing me with a renewed sense of awe.
— Mr. Brooks de Witter-Smith, Concert flutist, Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ai Goldsmith is a glorious flutist who embodies a natural, gracious presence on stage and off. Her captivating tone and authentic expression can only come from someone whose heart is deep and who has nurtured sensitivity and courage throughout the joys and struggles of a full life. I found myself wonderfully engrossed by Ai’s beautiful music.
— Ms. Helen Spielman, Performance Anxiety Coach and Author, A Flute in My Refrigerator: Celebrating a Life in Music
We had the pleasure of hosting Ai at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair.  Her playing was spellbinding!  She has such a gift of drama, and wraps it in a beautiful flute tone.  She was also delightful to work with—she was open, enthusiastic, and communicative.
— Ms. Lucy Snell, Program Chair, 2013 Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair
Another 180 degree turn was Ai Goldsmith’s wondrous classical performance of an orchestral piece by Japanese composer Hisatada Otaka.  Looking elegant and poised, Goldsmith held the audience in rapt attention, mesmerized by her playing, which was flawless and featured her bell-like sound.
— Mr. Steven Weinmann, review of SF International Flute Festival 2012

Instruction:

Your masterclass with the MTSU students was wonderfully inspiring, informative and fun!  It was wonderful to hear Roya improve her sound so much as well as play with more musical shape and emotion.  I felt that Mara truly gained a greater sense of ease in the production of her sound and this truly helped her to express herself so much more.  Your energy was wonderful and the graciousness you brought to the flute students allowed the performers to give more and the listeners to think and be attentive...
— An exerpt from a letter by Dr. Little, Associate Professor of Flute at MTSU.
I wanted to say thank you again for your visit to MTSU. Your masterclass was wonderful, and the instruction was very helpful and enlightening. You played so wonderfully, and I hope I’ll get to work with your hear you again soon!
— Mr. Eric Luminais
Our daughter has had a first-class musical education under Ai’s tutelage, and her flute tone and technique have progressed beautifully.  Perhaps even more valuable, though, is Ai’s presence in her life. Ai is atrue mentor. She cares about her students. They want to emulate her.  And, speaking from a parent’s point of view, if they do emulate her they will be doing very well, both as musicians and as people.
— From Ms. Susan Hough, a parent of a student, Jenna
Ai is a wonderful teacher in music education and flute performance. She has put countless efforts to gain the best performance experience to benefit her students. She always lays out a clear plan for students to reach their goals in flute performance step-by-step. She is also a great mentor always ready to support our daughter in those highs and lows of her flute performance. We will never forget those moments when Ai was with our daughter to share her emotion in cheers and tears. As parents, we saw the part that only a well-trusted teacher could have done to a young student. Perhaps Ai sees her students as the reflection of herself, as a young music lover who chose to use the flute to express her inner world.
— From Mr. Wen-teh Chang, a parent of a student, Cheryl