Friday, August 28, 2009

My Goldsmith Moment

Jerry Goldsmith was the first composer I really noticed. It happened when my older brother had purchased one of Goldsmith's Star Trek scores. While he listened to it in his room, he asked me if I wanted to see a picture of Goldsmith from the disc's package. I agreed, expecting to see a man in his thirties. I never expected to see what I thought was an old man. His music seemed to energetic, so youthful.

Years passed. I begin purchasing my own CDs, collecting quite a number of Goldsmith's works. As great as it was to hear his music on a disc, I very much wanted to hear his music live.

The Henry Mancini Institute announced a series of summer concerts. I requested a couple of tickets for one of their concerts devoted to film music, having never attended a film music concert before. It would be an even greater treat since Jerry Goldsmith would himself be conducting the event.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon in the city of Los Angeles. The sun was setting into the sea. The occasional cloud drifted lazily in the sky. The campus of UCLA seemed far from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

UCLA is a large place. Having never been there before, I got horribly turned around, ending up in some empty loading/ unloading area. I decided to ask the very next person for directions. As I turned around, a black Mercedes pulled up and parked a few feet from my position. I assumed that meant the person in the car worked at the university and could therefore give me directions. I would ask this person for some assistance.

As the elderly man stepped out of his vehicle, my heart raced. I could not believe that Jerry Goldsmith himself was just a few feet away.

I tread nervously toward him. I had no idea what to say. I could have pleaded for his autograph, or told him I worshiped him as a god, or uttered a thousand other things about his career or the honor it was to be in his presence.

Instead, I cleared my throat and asked, “Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the Royce Hall box office?”

He politely pointed the way. “Go down that hall and turn right. The office should be there.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

I walked away, having met one of the finest composers of all time.


  1. I like this story. Of all the famous people to have met, he was a good one.

  2. ...and then I approached him during the intermission and asked him to sign my copy of Rio Conchos. "Mr. Goldsmith...will you please sign my copy of Rio Conchos." He seemed surprised and pleased to sign my CD. "Rio Conchos??", he spouted, as if he was surprised that I asked him to sign that one. Most people probably asked to sign "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" or "The Omen" -- some of his more popular and well-known works. "It's great -- I love it!", I responded, or other words to that effect. I thanked him, shook his hand and let him go on his way. I'll never forget that moment; it was one of the highlights of my life.