University of Pittsburgh

In Memoriam: John Goldsmith, 1946–2017

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of John Goldsmith on Thursday, February 2. John joined the Music Department faculty in 1989 and served for a quarter century as the beloved director of the Heinz Chapel Choir and teacher of musicianship.  He was the advisor for undergraduate music majors for many years.  John is an indelible part of the lives and memories of thousands of Pitt students, faculty, staff, and alums.  

Immediately upon his arrival, he set about rebuilding the role of the Heinz Chapel Choir in the University.  He quickly restored it as the University’s preeminent student ensemble through superb musicianship, resulting in packed concerts and international attention for the University.  John led the students on singing tours of Europe, South America, and Asia, sharing news and photos through daily Internet updates.  A native of Westerville, Ohio, he is remembered for his wit, his passion for the ensemble, as well as for the many ways in which he shared his superb musical talents. He will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s wife, Elaine, and to the rest of his family.

A campus memorial program will take place at Heinz Memorial Chapel on Friday, February 24, at 11 a.m. Please join us as we celebrate the life and legacy of John Goldsmith.


Deane Root, Chair of the Department of Music

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