Stewart Goodyear | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Stewart Goodyear 

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Pianist Stewart Goodyear describes his early fascination with classical music as a form of rebellion--his Trinidadian and British parents preferred calypso and rock. The 29-year-old Toronto native has made a career of musical exploration, establishing a broad repertoire that includes some of his own compositions. He typically improvises the cadenzas during his concerto performances, a practice he traces back to Christmas parties at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, where he was challenged to improvise on carols in the style of composers from Mozart to Messiaen. For this concert he joins the Grant Park Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Wolff, in Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F Major--not as pungent as its more famous predecessor, Rhapsody in Blue, but still unmistakably Gershwin. The program opens with Beethoven's Fourth Symphony: very good middle Beethoven that has suffered the misfortune of coming between the Third and Fifth symphonies. Wolff also conducts the sunny, exuberant Symphony no. 5 ("Joyous") by George Antheil, a composer he has championed. See also Saturday. a 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-7638. F A --Steve Langendorf

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