A multi-woodwind performer, Vinny's recordings have been consistently picked by critics and readers of music journals for their yearly "ten best" lists. In 1990 he was the winner of the Jazz Times TDWR award for Bass Saxophone. In 1998 he ranked 1st in the Cadence Magazine Writers & Readers Poll and has continually placed in the Downbeat Critic's Poll for Baritone & Soprano Saxophone. In 1999 Vinny won the LA Weekly's Award for "Best Jazz Musician". Jazziz Magazine has also named him as one of the 100 people who have influenced the course of Jazz in our Century. In 2006 The Jazz Journalists Association honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Golia has also contributed original compositions and scores to Ballet and Modern Dance works, video, theatrical productions, and film. As an educator Vinny has lectured on music & painting composition, improvisation, Jazz History, The History of Music in Film, CD & record manufacturing and self-production throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand and Canada. He currently teaches at California Institute of the Arts. In 1998 Golia was appointed Regent's Lecturer at the University of California at San Diego. In 2009 Vinny Golia was appointed the first holder of the Michel Colombier Performer Composer Chair at Cal Arts.
Vinny has been a featured performer with Anthony Braxton, Henry Grimes, John Carter, Bobby Bradford, Joelle Leandre, Leo Smith, Horace Tapscott, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Bertram Turetzky, George Lewis, Barre Phillips, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, Patti Smith, Harry "the Hipster" Gibson, Eugene Chadburne, Kevin Ayers, Peter Kowald, John Bergamo, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennick, Lydia Lunch, Harry Sparrney and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra amongst many others.