Mill Valley teen fulfills dream to be concertmaster

When Jordon Goldklang joined the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra in the eighth grade, he already had his eye on the concertmaster’s seat.

And now, five years later, Goldklang is pleased to accept the honored position of “silently greeting” the audience, tuning the orchestra and leading the first-violin section. It was a hard-earned climb for the young musician, who started his tenure at the age of 12 in the second-to-last seat of the youth orchestra.

The 17-year-old Jewish violinist will make his debut as concertmaster of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at the College of Marin Fine Arts Theater, 835 College Ave., Kentfield. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 adults.

When he’s not practicing the violin -— “I try to practice an hour a day,” he says — the Mill Valley teen can be found stargazing on Mount Tamalpais with other members of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. Astronomy has been a passion of his since he spent all of his bar mitzvah money on a telescope. Goldklang and his family belong to Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon.

And if that weren’t enough to round out an ambitious teenager, Goldklang performs as “Jordini” the magician at bar mitzvahs and weddings. He started working for neighbors and then moved on to passing out amateur business cards his mom worked up on her computer. He now has quite a lucrative shtick complete with a bag of complicated and entertaining tricks.

“I loved magic from before kindergarten,” he explains.

The senior at Tamalpais High School chose getting violin lessons over a camping tent for his 10th birthday. And, apart from a brief flirtation with the French horn, he since has committed himself to the violin.

“I like the more romantic pieces. I really like emotional pieces,” Goldklang explains over his cell phone. “I’m very passionate about playing. I’m not a good singer. But I’m a decent violinist, and I like to sing through the violin.”

Goldklang speaks openly and lovingly about his musical roots and close extended family, most of whom live in the Bay Area. His aunt and uncle are professional jazz musicians and his brother, David Goldklang, plays a french horn with Michael Tilson Thomas’s Miami New World Symphony.

“My family is very supportive. My brother comes in when I’m practicing and helps out. I grew up with an appreciation of music. When I was little I went to symphony concerts.”

After graduation Goldklang plans to take a year off to practice the violin and hopefully land a job as an “explainer” at the Exploratorium before applying to music conservatories across the country.