Caroline Goulding's Continuing & Brilliant Career

January 22, 2013 by Bruce Collier

Violin virtuoso Caroline Goulding turned 20 last summer. She may not have had time for a cake and candles. Just prior to that she had toured Japan and China, then played the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. The month after her birthday she could be found in Indiana, followed by New Hampshire, Texas and her native Michigan. The first part of this month will find her in California and Massachusetts.

On Jan. 25 she will land in Destin, to play Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Op. 47 with Sinfonia Gulf Coast. Sinfonia Music Director Demetrius Fuller is thrilled.

“Caroline is one of those rare artists that only come around every so often,” says Fuller. “From her debut with Sinfonia at age 14, everyone knew that she was destined for an amazing career, and we are honored to welcome her back for her third appearance with the orchestra.”

Goulding had a few measures of rest over the recent holidays and took time to speak with The Beachcomber. Deservedly called a prodigy, Goulding maintains that she took up the violin (at age 3 and 1/2) because her two older brothers were playing sax and trumpet, and the instruments “fascinated” her for some reason. She cannot recall what she felt when she first took up the violin, but she is glad she chose it over her alternative, the piano. “Because I can’t play the piano,” she says.

Football and other interests drew her brothers away from playing, and neither of her parents play, but Goulding says, “I’m the only musician in a family of music lovers.” She learned to play via the Suzuki violin method, went to music summer camp, and at age 7 she and 100 other kids had the opportunity to play with legendary violinist Isaac Stern.

“He’s one of my idols. I’m pretty sure I have his autograph somewhere,” she says.

Goulding’s first public performance was at the age of 9. She cannot recall what she performed, but says she has always enjoyed playing. “I have a passion for it.” Over the years she studied with a number of distinguished teachers, her current being Donald Weilerstein of the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, now Goulding’s home base.

From an early age she has been performing, making appearances in legendary venues like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Her web site features a dizzying list of honors (including a Grammy nomination for her 2009 debut album) and of symphonies, orchestras, chamber groups and ensembles with which she has made music.

Though her musical foundation is classical, Goulding also enjoys folk music, being especially fond of Cape Breton Island fiddling (“It really influenced my musicianship”) and jazz, including a Carnegie Hall gig with jazz banjo master Bela Fleck, whom she calls “one of my favorite musicians.” In February, she will record her second album, with a planned release in September. Goulding does not give away too many details about it, but says it will have Romanian and Hungarian themes.

She plans to graduate NEC in spring of this year, but will continue to study, practice three hours daily and maybe find time to look into composition. Judging by the 2013 itinerary on her web site, she will be making appearances in the U.S. and Japan. Despite her formidable schedule, she does not yet have a personal assistant.

“I would love a personal assistant!” she laughs. “I’m not a multitasker. I need to remember to remind myself to do things.”

In her spare time, such as it is, Goulding says she has become a foodie, adding, “I’m getting kind of picky about coffee.”

Area audiences can see and hear Caroline Goulding, playing a 1637- vintage Nicolo Amati violin, with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, at Sinfonia, Sibelius and the Seventh (of Beethoven) Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., at Destiny Worship Center. For more information or tickets, visit or call (850) 269-7129.

Story courtesy the Beachcomber.


Bruce Collier's picture

With degrees in both theater and law, Bruce has worked as a public defender, playwright, actor and director. Currently, he is editor of the DeFuniak Herald/Beach Breeze and a contributing editor for The Beachcomber newspaper.

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