CU Presents' 80th-anniversary Artist Series continues with an intimate recital by acclaimed American pianist Richard Goode. Hailed by The Washington Post as “one of the finest pianists in the world,” Goode will play a program of Beethoven, Debussy and more at Macky Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
At 73 years old, Goode and his remarkably enduring performing career show no signs of slowing down. Over the decades, he’s played at every major concert hall in the world, including Carnegie Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The pianist is known internationally for the unique, introspective touch he lends to music from the classical and romantic periods.
“Goode has so thoroughly entered into the spirit of the compositions he performs that you’d swear the composer himself was at the keyboard,” touts a review in Toronto's The Globe and Mail.
Goode’s path to piano virtuoso was unexpected. He grew up in the East Bronx with a piano tuner and amateur violinist father, who wanted Richard to take up his instrument someday. He sent his son to a neighborhood piano teacher, believing keyboard lessons would give the boy the solid musical grounding he’d need for the violin. Almost immediately, it was obvious playing piano music was Goode's true calling.
In early adulthood, Goode built up an impressive résumé, co-founding the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and playing regularly alongside the greatest musicians of the day. But his shyness kept him out of the spotlight for decades, and it wasn’t until late adulthood he explored the possibility of a solo career at the behest of friends and colleagues, Leonard Bernstein among them. Battling a mild case of stage fright, Goode made his brilliant Carnegie Hall debut at age 47 and only a few years later won the Avery Fisher Prize and a Grammy Award.
Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman says it’s for precisely this reason that Goode is one of the best living pianists.
“Can you imagine Richard if he had become a well-known soloist at 25?” Stoltzman asks. “He would have missed the depth and breadth of intensive meditation on music which only time has made possible. His concentration is what separates him from most musicians.”
His characteristic self-effacement and reserve, adds a writer from Gramophone Magazine, also make it possible for him to delve deeply into music.
“Every time we hear him, he impresses us as better than we remembered, surprising us, surpassing our expectations and communicating perceptions that stay in the mind,” says Gramophone.
At his Oct. 28 recital in Macky, Goode will play to his strengths—music from the classical and romantic periods—with piano sonatas by Mozart and Beethoven, preludes by Debussy and Brahms’ beloved Six Pieces for Piano. He’ll also play four movements from Janáček’s song cycle On an Overgrown Path, which was featured on the soundtrack to the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
But critics agree it’s always a great idea to hear Richard Goode in recital no matter what’s on the program.
“It is virtually impossible,” says a New York Times critic, “to walk away from one of Mr. Goode’s recitals without the sense of having gained some new insight, subtle or otherwise, into the works he played or about pianism itself.”