Thursday, January 26,2011:All that Glitters
The goal of most new international businesses is to go for the gold: big profits. That’s not the reason Samuel Goldscheider has started a business in Prague.
So “Why on earth are you here?” That’s the question that a lot of Czech musicians ask him.
A recent graduate of Cambridge University, he has established his own Goldscheider Artists agency, representing musicians in Prague and using his ties to London.
“I’m probably the only English agent with connections in both places, and certainly I must be the youngest one in Prague,” he admits with a small smile. “I’m not trying to be a money-maker; I’m going for clients who are small individuals but deserve an international career.”
But all these factors are his strengths, he tells Opus Osm. “Local people are impressed that I’m from London; automatically then they feel the whole world is open to them.” Many Czechs still feel inhibited because their country is land-locked, and not a super-power like the UK or US. They usually assume someone from countries “outside” would have no interest in finding musicians here.
And individual musicians with limited funds believe the wider world is a hard place for them to get to. “It’s true,” the musicologist-agent admits. “But not as hard as they think.”
The difference between a big international agency and his own Goldscheider Artists agency, he says, is that a mega-agency is primarily a business and looks for musicians 1) who are good-looking, 2) whose artistic credentials are not so important, and 3) who have the physical stamina to tour internationally, non-stop.
“A big agency would have to invest so much time and money in promoting a client like my violinist, Josef Špaček,” he says. “They’d start almost from the beginning, touring him in countries where he isn’t known at all, and they’d lose too much money.”
To help fund his own living expenses, Mr Goldscheider has also founded Goldscheider Translations, specializing in Czech and English, particularly for music and musicians. (Editor’s note: he also is a contributing writer to Opus Osm.)
Mr Goldscheider also currently represents the pianist Miroslav Sekara (whose first fame came playing the child Mozart in Miloš Forman’s Amadeus); and the contemporary music group The Berg Orchestra.
But why does the young Londoner care so much about Czech classical music? “I’ve been around musicians since I was young. I studied classical music at Cambridge. I really enjoy concerts, and I go places with musicians after their concerts. Classical music opens up a whole new world in your life,” he explains.
“Sometimes I ask myself why, but … I only work with people I enjoy working with. I believe in the musicians I work with.
“I’m promoting them abroad with no financial return, but I get enjoyment knowing that a great musician and a good person is able to do what he’s best at: giving people the joy of music.” — oo
– Mary Matz
Photo Credits: Bottom: Miroslav Setnička