My Instrument – Stewart Goodyear
What makes a person devote their life to the learning of a single instrument?
We’ve been asking some world class artists just what it was that led them to do what they do.
Here, pianist Stewart Goodyear reflects on his own journey through the early life of a pianist.
(Click HERE for Stewart’s new album of the complete Beethoven piano concertos.)
The first time I heard a piano was when I was age 3.
I heard an LP with Vladimir Ashkenazy performing Chopin’s 4 Ballades. I loved the sound of the instrument and the music that poured out of it. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a classical musician.
More than any other instrument, I felt that the piano could encompass a whole orchestra, a jazz or rock band…or imitate another instrument like the harp. That appealed to me very much…especially when I was playing for people in the living room!
I do not think I would be where I am today if it were not for the love, support and encouragement of my family.
My mother and grandparents were my only family in Canada growing up. My father died of cancer a month before I was born. I received so much love from my family, and they knew that music was what made me breathe air every day. It was more than a love…it was my life source.
My musical heroes were those who not only were great interpreters of other composers, but were also great composers themselves. Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, and Bartok were huge icons for me, because they shared their voices with the listeners so differently and intimately.
Describing the sound of a piano to someone who had never heard one I would say ‘Imagine something made of steel, wood and ivory, round that imagination with pillows…then while you imagine this, think of a palate of spiced blueberry jam!”
I listen mostly to singers and orchestras when I am relaxing….I do love listening to pianists, but I first try to work on how to create my own sound and vision on the piano completely.
If not for the piano I would still be a musician, but it would be very difficult to have a second choice…I think all instruments have individual beauty.
That is why I love composing!
Everyone loves music, and I would encourage everyone to express themselves on the piano, playing music that speaks to them.
Regrets after all this time?