Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, pianist and composer Stewart Goodyear began his training at Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, received a bachelor’s degree from Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and completed a Masters Degree at Juilliard School of Music in New York. Now calling New York his home, Goodyear has performed with the major orchestras of the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among many.
With a repertoire that includes Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin, and Messiaen, Goodyear is also known as an improviser and composer. Goodyear’s composition, the fanfare entitled “Count Up”, was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2011. Goodyear has released recordings of many of Beethoven’s best known Sonatas on Marquis Classics: Late Sonatas (numbers 28-32) | Middle Sonatas (including the “Moonlight,” “Pastorale” and “Tempest” sonatas) .
Goodyear’s current project is his “Beethoven Marathon,” to be presented as part of the Luminato Festival. In a single day Goodyear will play all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, which means that between 10:00 in the morning and 11:30 pm at night on June 9th, Goodyear will play for over 10 hours, a feat that as far as I know has never been done before.
I ask Goodyear 10 questions: five about himself and five about the Beethoven Marathon.
1) Which of your parents do you resemble (what’s your nationality / ethnic background)?
The parent I resemble the most is my grandfather on my father’s side. I am a Canadian pianist of British and Trinidadian heritage.
2) what is the BEST thing / worst thing about being a concert pianist?
The best thing about being a concert pianist is doing something that I love and that I have been passionate about since I can remember.
3) who do you listen to or watch?
If he were alive today, I would love to be at a Ray Charles concert. How he combined seemingly unrelated styles of music and created an entirely new music called ‘soul’ is an example of how anything is possible.
4) what ability or skill do you wish you had, that you don’t have?
If I was not a pianist, I would love to have the skill of directing films. I admire each director and how he/she tells a story.
5) When you’re just relaxing (and not working) what is your favorite thing to do?
When I have a little down time, I watch a few scenes from my favorite movies, drink a cup of coffee, and chill to Frank Zappa and Miles Davis.
Five more concerning the Beethoven Marathon.
1) How does the act of playing all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in a single day challenge you?
The challenge of playing Beethoven in general is to be 200 percent in the emotional zone. Beethoven’s music possesses me to such a degree that I am only aware of my surroundings after the performance is over.
2) what do you love about Beethoven’s piano sonatas?
I love how free and boundless Beethoven is as a creator. He is always challenging expectations and convention.
3) Do you have a favorite sonata?
It is almost impossible to choose a favorite sonata from these 32 gems. If I had to pick one, it would be Beethoven “Funeral March” sonata.
4) How do you relate to Beethoven’s piano sonatas as a modern man?
Beethoven’s sonatas, to me, will always be contemporary and timeless. Every second of his music goes beyond convention of any kind. It goes beyond romanticism, surrealism, minimalism, jazz, pop, and rock. Even in the last sonata, he goes beyond where boogie-woogie would take the listener.
5) Is there anyone out there who you particularly admire, and who has influenced you?
Leonard Bernstein is the classical musician of the 20th century I admire the most. He was inspired by all styles of music, and, just like Beethoven, he defied convention, created his own music, and communicated to audiences of all demographics.
June 9th Stewart Goodyear will be playing all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas as part of the Luminato Festival:
(10:00 AM – 2:00 PM) 4 hours, with intermission.
Sonatas No. 1 through 11, as well as No. 19 and No. 20, including the “Grand Sonata” and “Pathétique.”
(3:00 PM – 6:30 PM) 3.5 hours, with intermission.
Sonatas No. 12 through 23 (except Nos. 19 and 20), including the “Moonlight,” “Pastoral,” “Tempest,” and “Appassionata.”
(8:30 PM – 11:30PM) 3 hours, with intermission.
Sonatas No. 24 through 32, including “Les adieux” and “Hammerklavier.”
Luminato has commissioned internationally acclaimed Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo to create an on-stage performance piece that will continue throughout Stewart Goodyear’s marathon of 32 Beethoven sonatas. Suryodarmo’s three performance sequences will provide subtle, almost motionless visual enrichment that heightens the listening experience.
Find out more by clicking here.