World-renowned classical pianist​ ​Alon Goldstein​ loves to play for audiences, frequently school children, far from the famous stages he normally graces.


Goldstein, founder and artistic director of the Emerald Coast Music Alliance (ECMA), describes these moments as transformative and life-changing. It is these moments that inspired him to bring ​“Carnegie Hall,” free of charge,​ to children and adults in the community who normally would not have access to such an experience.


For the past three years, Goldstein, together with members of the ECMA, has brought world-class musicians to perform live at various venues throughout Northwest Florida. In 2017, Goldstein and other distinguished musicians performed at five venues serving youth and adults over the course of one week. The following year, the program expanded to a piano and string quartet, which performed at 15 locations. Last year, Goldstein and the ECMA brought ​Grammy-nominated​ cellist Amit Peled and the Peabody Cello Gang, a group of gifted musical students from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, to perform 25 times at 17 different locations.


The ​ECMA Festival,​ scheduled from ​Jan. 12-18, 2020,​ will highlight two Concert Artist Guild International Competition winners: JiJi, a Korean-born classical guitarist who has performed in ​Carnegie Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center​, and ​2018 CAG winner percussionist ​Mitya Nilov. The festival program will also feature Goldstein, four other pianists and a brass quintet.


With 12 musicians, this year’s program is expected to include over 30 concerts at schools, nursing homes and other facilities throughout Northwest Florida as well as ​two free concerts in the Spirit Theater at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on Jan. 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m.


Goldstein has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies as well as the Israel Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Radio France Orchestra. He also serves as artistic director for The Distinguished Artists Concert and Lecture Series in Santa Cruz, Calif. and the Mt. Angel Abbey Bach Festival in Oregon.


The Emerald Coast Music Alliance brings exposure of classical music to populations which would otherwise not have access to such, including children, special needs, elderly and infirm persons and those in rural areas. ECMA’s goal is to increase appreciation for classical music and enrich lives by bringing professional classical musicians to our region to perform for these populations, at no charge, in accessible community venues.