Who or what inspired you to take up piano and pursue a career in music?
Love and happiness is what inspired me to take up the piano and pursue a career in music. When I was 3, I was a painfully shy kid, but I wanted very much to communicate to people. Every time I heard music, I would open up…It was the language that spoke to me deeply from the very beginning, the first language that I spoke. Playing the piano was my way of opening my heart to people…and pursuing a career in music was my way of opening my heart to the world.
My first concert was seeing Andre Watts perform in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall…I will always remember every second of that concert because that experience sealed it for me; I told my mother “This is what I want to do”.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
The most important influences on my musical life and career have been the support of my friends and family. Their words of encouragement and their unending support inspire me every day.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
To me, challenges push me to be better…a better musician, and hopefully a better human being. Every chapter of my life shaped the course of my musical journey, and I am thankful for each challenge life throws my way.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Each performance and recording has been very meaningful to me, from the complete Beethoven sonatas to my new Ravel recording. Each work I have recorded I have lived with almost all my life, and sharing my love of this music to my listeners is a great gift.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I have tried very hard not to be a specialist in one composer or one genre. For me, each composer demands my complete devotion, attention and understanding.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I wish I could say that each season is devoted to a particular repertoire! So far, my concerts are a combination of collaborations with orchestras and chamber musicians, and solo recitals.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
My favorite venues are those that not only have amazing acoustics, but designed in a way that is an intimacy between myself and the audience. Two of my favorite halls I have performed in are Koerner Hall in Toronto, the Berlin Philharmonie, and the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.
Who are your favourite musicians?
When I listen to music, I enjoy hearing orchestral music and opera. Right now, I am listening to a lot of Bach cantatas and passions.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
My favorite musicians are those that broke the mould and brought the listeners with them. One of them is Maurice Ravel!
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I can sum it up in a few words: Trust your heart and your gut.
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
49 years old, slim with an 8-pack, and my fingers and mind still working.
Stewart Goodyear’s disc of piano music by Ravel is available now on the Orchid Classics label