At 19 years old, Saul Goodman became timpanist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini. Forty-six years later, he retired as one of the most celebrated orchestral musicians of all time. During his illustrious career as composer, inventor, and timpanist, he performed on over 1,000 recordings, placed his students in the world’s major symphony orchestras, and set standards in percussion performance and pedagogy that remain in place to this day. His memoirs, and those of his students, trace his musical development and take the reader on a voyage of his unique experiences during the greatest era of the American symphony orchestras.
His incredible legacy as a performer and a teacher is unrivaled in the history of percussion, and perhaps any other instrument as well. The list of his students reads like a ‘who’s who’ of our world.
—Daniel Druckman, New York Philharmonic
He was one of the greatest artists of all times. He was an inspiration to me, not only as a student, but throughout my professional career.
—Vic Firth, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Saul often said that his teachers were Toscanini, Monteux, Reiner, Stokowski, and Bruno Walter. He was the greatest player in the era of stars throughout the symphonic world. The sheer numbers of concerts, recordings, and TV that he played is staggering.
—Morris Lang, New York Philharmonic
Saul Goodman was a brilliant orchestral musician who just happened to play the timpani. His style, musicianship and strong personality were a tremendous influence on those with whom he worked.
—James Rago, Louisville Orchestra