Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional: Brian Goldstein

December 6, 2022 | By John Fleming

GG Arts Law

Arts and entertainment lawyer Brian Goldstein hears one question repeatedly from U.S. clients who want to engage foreign artists. “They ask me, ‘Before we commit to this, what do you think the chances are that we can get this artist into the United States, and how difficult is it going to be?’ For example,” he continues, “let’s say it’s a Russian musician, but he doesn’t live in Russia, and the client wants to know if it is worth it to consider booking him, and how much is it going to cost.”

Goldstein’s response: “Be prepared for problems and delays.”

“It always comes down to convincing someone in a government cubicle that it’s in the U.S. national interest for the Metropolitan Opera or the New York Philharmonic or any other performing arts organization to get this person an artist visa,” he says.

At least 50 percent of his business at GG Arts Law involves assisting presenters with negotiations to obtain visas for foreign artists. It’s always been a challenge, he says, “but the pandemic turned what was already an unpredictable, illogical, expensive, and political process into a quagmire. We’re still dealing with all the repercussions of that. Thankfully, with Covid at least diminished this year, the business came blasting back, but the immigration system is still a mess.”

Goldstein worked pro bono to aid the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, which last summer toured a dozen cities in Europe and the U.S. in the name of what Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky called “artistic resistance” to the Russian invasion. Proceeds went to Ukrainian relief. GG Arts Law expedited the non-U.S. artist visas needed for three concerts at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center and a PBS broadcast.

“The Ukraine project was near and dear to my heart,” Goldstein said. “Knowing that I played a small part in making it happen felt great.”




Law and Disorder by GG Arts Law

Career Advice by Legendary Manager Edna Landau

An American in Paris by Frank Cadenhead



Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.