Martin Goldsmith is the author of two memoirs of his family’s experiences during the Holocaust, The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany (2000) and Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance (2014). Hailed by The Washington Post as “a literary journey reminiscent of Art Spiegelman’s in Maus,” The Inextinguishable Symphony tells the riveting story of the Jewish Kulturbund, an all-Jewish performing arts ensemble maintained by the Nazis between 1933 and 1941, an ensemble that included Mr. Goldsmith’s parents. Alex’s Wake builds on the first memoir, telling the poignant story of the author’s efforts to fill in gaps in his family history, as well as of his struggles to understand his own attitudes toward the Holocaust and the people who denied help to his grandfather and uncle during their ill-fated voyage on the SS St. Louis. It provides a fuller look at two remarkable men and is a touching literary tribute to them, among the many forever lost to the catastrophe that was World War II.
He is also the author of six Composer Portraits that he has performed with conductor Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Hour-long biographies of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Copland, the Portraits attracted enthusiastic crowds to the Kennedy Center from 2003 to 2008, and furthered Mr. Goldsmith’s reputation as one of America’s foremost advocates for classical music.
He established that reputation through his work as a broadcaster. Martin Goldsmith is the director of classical music programming and the daily morning voice of Symphony Hall at Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington. He was the host of Performance Today, National Public Radio’s daily classical music program for ten years through 1999. In 1998, Performance Today won the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, and in the same year Mr. Goldsmith was awarded a Cultural Leadership Citation from Yale University “in recognition of service to the cultural life of the nation.” Before joining NPR in 1986 he worked at member station WETA-FM in Washington, DC for a dozen years, serving as producer, announcer, music director and, eventually, program director.
The son of Gunther Goldschmidt, a flutist from Oldenburg, Germany, and Rosemarie Gumpert Goldschmidt, a violinist, Martin Goldsmith was born in St. Louis, where his mother spent 21 years as a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He began his radio career at commercial classical station WCLV in Cleveland, where his mother was a violist in the Cleveland Orchestra. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he has sung in the chorus of the Baltimore Opera and made a guest appearance with the Washington Opera. He has also acted in many roles in Washington-area theaters, including Arena Stage.