Get to know Richard Goode!

May 6, 2016

richard goode

Richard Goode performs at the Festival on May 11 in a solo recital at 8 PM and on May 12 with soprano Sarah Shafer at 2 PM. You can also see a master class with Goode on May 10 at 10:30 AM. Get to know a few facts about the American pianist!

1. Leonard Bernstein was a big fan.

Leonard Bernstein

Bernstein was one of Goode’s various friends and colleagues who encouraged the pianist to pursue a solo career, and in 1977, Bernstein encouraged Goode to play the Brahms piano concertos on a worldwide tour.

“It was a great thing to hear Lenny say,” Goode says. “But I thought he might help – and he didn’t!” Even without Bernstein’s help, Goode has performed to acclaim in the world’s greatest venues since then.

2. He owns over 5,000 books.

Leonard Bernstein in front of skyline

Goode lives in New York with his wife, violinist Marcia Weinfeld, and both of them collect books on tour. “But I have to be careful about what I’m reading on tour,” Goode says. “What you read influences your state of mind and your upcoming concert.”

We’ll be asking him for a reading list during the Festival!

3. He was the first American pianist to record Beethoven’s complete sonatas.

Leonard Bernstein playing piano

According to Gramophone’s review of the 10-hour release from 1991, “his sound always makes you listen. He’s constantly inside the music, and what a lively, cultivated, lucid and stimulating guide he is.”

4. He plays for the joy of it, not for fame.

Leonard Bernstein in interview

Goode wants young musicians to succeed and supports educational outreach efforts by teaching master classes. He understands the demand for live performance is getting lower but hopes that “more people simply will learn the piano for themselves for the joy of it as a vocation. When people realize what it’s like to play an instrument, that’s the most active listening.”

5. He hates his own recordings.

Leonard Bernstein looking out window

Goode finds listening to his own music “something close to a kind of existential torture,” according to an interview with The Guardian. But with Glenn Gould as an exception, many artists feel similarly on this topic – like hearing a recording of one’s own voice.

6. He has been a Steinway Artist for 49 years.

steinway artist Leonard Bernstein

“The Steinway, with its vast range of possibilities, beauty and nobility of sound, is incomparable!” Goode says. “It has been a constant source of inspiration to me.” Goode has been a Steinway artist since 1967!

7. But he didn’t perform at Carnegie Hall until he was 47.

Leonard Bernstein at carnegie hall

Goode suffers from a bit of stage fright, and he tends to be self-effacing. But perhaps waiting until his 40s to perform at Carnegie Hall set an example for others. “It is difficult to know why it took 29 years… but the event was worth waiting for,” wrote a critic from The New York Times. “In a perfect world, all debutantes would be so well-prepared musically and technically.”
See Richard Goode perform May 11!

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