The sudden death of composer Jonathan Goldstein, along with his wife Hannah Marcinowicz and their daughter, shocked the community last month when it was announced the family tragically died in a plane crash in Switzerland. Jonathan, who was a member of The Ivors Academy from 2010 – 2019, was a multi-award winning composer for film, television, advertising, theatre and live events, as well as chairman of the Society for Producers and Composers of Applied Music (PCAM) from 2005-2012.
His early career saw him work with Trevor Nunn and Sir Peter Hall at RSC and the National Theatre, before working on renowned film score orchestrations, including Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear, and composing works for screen of critical acclaim, two of which were nominated for a BAFTA. Jonathan was the founder of London-based music production company Goldstein Music Group, working on global advertising campaigns for hundreds of the world’s biggest brands and composing scores for film and TV, landing an Ivor Novello award nomination in 2008 for his BBC/HBO score for Primo, recorded with Peter Gabriel and David Byrne.
We hear from three composers who share their fondest memories working closely with Jonathan across their careers.
“Like so many, I was deeply shocked by the tragic news that Jonathan, Hannah and their daughter, Saskia had been killed in an accident in Switzerland.
Looking back through emails, I realise I had known Jonathan for ten years. He was working alone as a composer for advertising when I first met him through a mutual friend. Since then, I have worked with him on numerous advertising campaigns and more recently with Imogen and Matt at Jonathan’s company, Goldstein.
Writing music for advertising is demanding – composers have to write quickly to a very specific brief, pitch their music against other composers’ work and often make numerous revisions before winning a job. Jonathan seemed uniquely suited to the process, somehow managing to remain calm and retain a healthy sense of humour in even the most frustrating of situations.
Musically, he was a rare combination – wonderfully able and genuinely modest. He wrote fluently, particularly for orchestra, and had a deep appreciation for and understanding of music to picture. If there was ever an opportunity, he loved to conduct the orchestra and invite huge numbers of people from the advertising agency to the studio, even though this inevitably complicated the process immeasurably. He was always up and at work by 6am and had a frustrating ability to produce a detailed orchestral score, ready to perform and scored perfectly to picture, before I had even switched my computer on.
Jonathan believed in expansive and generous lunches. The last time we met was, at his insistence, at Soho House in Greek St, and I remember our hysterical laughter at his story about Ennio Morricone. He always seemed very happy to catch up over a bottle of wine and lunch and then head back to the office for the rest of the day.
Both he and Hannah were great friends to those of us who were fortunate to know them, and they will be missed terribly by us all.”
“I’ll never forget the day I met Jonathan after sending him an email to introduce myself back in 2007. We met for a drink and I immediately noticed how polite and welcoming he was. We began working together a few years later and feel that I owe him so much as he was my mentor and friend. It’s very rare that you get to meet someone so honest, bright and kind.
A true gentleman, Jonathan paved the way for young composers in the field of music for media and was always open to new ideas and fresh talent. With a smile on his face, he never let anyone down and always aimed for the best results in his work. His positivity was something I admired and his patience was truly a blessing…
My dear friend, I will miss you greatly and am so saddened by your passing. I never got the chance to thank you enough for everything you have given me and my family these past years and the endless opportunities you brought forward. In our email conversations you would sometimes add with the help of an online translator a little Greek phrase at the end. So dear Jonathan, Hannah and little Saskia I wish you «Καλό Παράδεισο»…”
David William Hearn
“Over many years, Jonathan and I worked on hundreds of projects together and, as his ventures flourished, so did our friendship. Jonathan was a brilliant, talented and incredibly kind man; generous with his time and his patience, with a gentle nature that never went unnoticed or unappreciated.
Jonathan had many great qualities: instantly likeable, effortlessly charming and very, very humble. He was extremely intelligent, with a fantastic sense of humour – a formidable combination! Whether it was his penchant for awfully-brilliant “dad jokes”, or his (presumably unique) ability to compose entire email chains in sonnet form, he would always find the right gag for the moment to lift spirits, raise a smile and get us through even the most testing of projects!
One of my favourites was his ability to see potential, both in people and in ideas. I will forever cherish the many “extended” lunches and countless evenings spent deep in fervent discussion about the future; what to do next, and how to achieve it. More than a couple of times this found us as the last two in the bar, still energetically chatting about how to get “the next big thing” off the ground, whilst tired staff patiently cleared up around us.
Jonathan’s humility and humble nature belied his many talents. Though his time with us has been cut tragically short, he made a lasting and positive impact on me – and many others – which will be celebrated for a long time to come. I learned more from him than he’ll ever know. Thank you, Jonathan, for the memories, the moments and the opportunities… and all of the laughs!
A kindred spirit; an adventurer; a mentor; and colleague. But, most of all, Jonathan was a true friend. I will miss him deeply.”