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Playing for dear friends

May 13th, 2012 · No Comments


Stewart Goodyear is set to perform all of Beethoven's masterpieces in a marathon-style concert beginning June 9. Courtesy Gary Beechey.

By Paris Herbert-Taylor

Toronto native Stewart Goodyear is no stranger to big challenges.

Although his love of music began when living in the Annex, his music has taken him all over the world. Goodyear originally started composing music from the age of eight, and went on to win a well-earned place at The Royal Conservatory of Music (273 Bloor St. W.), followed by studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, and the Julliard School in New York.

On June 9, Goodyear will bring his enormous musical talent back to Toronto, to undertake an astonishing musical task. In a co-production with the conservatory and Luminato—Toronto’s festival of arts, Goodyear will be playing all 23 Beethoven piano sonatas in one day.

“I was adamant about presenting all of Beethoven’s sonatas together, they are a set”—Stewart Goodyear

The musical marathon will last ten hours. When asked about his decision to participate in the daunting musical feat he mused, “I was adamant about presenting all of Beethoven’s sonatas together, they are a set.”

According to Goodyear, by playing all of the sonatas in one sitting the audience will be able to see the work as a retrospective.

He has a long and extensive relationship with classical music, and with Beethoven in particular. Beethoven’s work was the first classical music he heard as a child, and he credits this early memory as the inspiration that drove him to become a musician.

He says that because of his long-standing love and respect for Beethoven, Goodyear feels as though he “is playing from a very personal part” of himself.

Goodyear also draws motivation from Beethoven when composing his own work. “His [Beethoven’s] sonatas are unique and distinctive … the passion in his music inspires me,” he said Goodyear, who says that each time he performs, the experience is different.

He is excited to be back in Toronto for the Beethoven marathon. He has played in a vast number of cities of the years and has said that he could not choose a favorite, although he does look forward to collaborating with his alma mater.

In the fall of 2011, Goodyear performed a recital at Koerner Hall in collaboration with The Royal Conservatory and described the experience as “playing for dear friends.”

Each time he performs a piece of music; the audience dictates much of the energy in the concert hall. “Every experience is new, different … every experience is organic, you take energy from the audience. It makes the performances feel alive,” he said.

For his June 9 performance, Goodyear is teaming up with internationally-acclaimed Indonesian performance artist Melati Suryodarmo, who will create an onstage piece that will extend the full length of Goodyear’s marathon. It is the first time Goodyear and Surydarmo have worked together, and the piece is meant to provide a subtle, almost motionless visual enrichment to heighten the listening experience.

Goodyear “jumped at the opportunity” to work with Surydarmo. “Music can be expressed in so many ways. You can use many sorts of media to move people,” he explained.

Tickets are available for Stewart Goodyear’s Beethoven Marathon on June 9 from
the Royal Conservatory Box Office and from 


Tags: Annex · Arts · General