A loss for geology turned into a win for music at a critical juncture in the life of Rachel Goldstein.

Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Goldstein began her violin studies there at the age of 5. At 16, she entered the music school of the State University of New York at Purchase. Midway through her studies, she switched her major to geology, but after six months she knew that the violin was her true calling. Resuming her musical studies, she  graduated from Purchase at the age of 19 and went on to earn a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Married to CSO bassist Stephen Lester, she has many hobbies, which include wildlife photography, knitting and grooming Dexter and Prince, her standard poodles.

Why did you choose your instrument?
My older sister played the violin, so I wanted to do the same.

What work are you most looking forward to performing this season?
I’m really looking forward to playing Mahler’s First Symphony with Maestro Muti [in June]. We play this piece frequently, but I know he will show us a new perspective.

What is your most memorable CSO performance?
The Damnation of Faust, conducted by Solti at the Proms in 1989. It was my first performance on tour with the CSO, and my first with Solti.

Favorite book or movie:
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.

Offstage, I like to:
Take pictures of birds and insects, and hang out with my pets (two poodles and a cat).

HOMETOWN: Iowa City, Iowa.
EDUCATION: State University of New York at Purchase, San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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