The Dallas Chamber Symphony says “Bonjour!” to its eighth season with an all-French program on October 22 at the Moody Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District. The season opening concert reflects an evolution in Parisian musical tastes during turn of the twentieth century with Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau Couperin,” Francis Poulenc’s “Sinfonietta” and Camille Saint Saëns’ Piano Concerto 2 featuring renowned pianist, Christopher Goodpasture.
Goodpasture’s life as a musician began at a young age. “I think my fascination with music began at age four when I was given a partial size keyboard by my parents. I started lessons shortly thereafter and began considering it seriously around the fifth grade or so,” Goodpasture said.
He began his formal training at the Pasadena Conservatory, and he holds graduate degrees from Yale University and The Juilliard School. He continued his studies with Stewart Gordon and John Perry at the University of Southern California and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
Chamber music is important to him. He was a fellow in Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and participated in the intensive chamber music program of David Finckel and Wu Han in Aspen. “I’ve been drawn to chamber music for a very long time. Since being a pianist is often a lonely endeavor, I like it for its social aspects, as well as the challenge of collaborating with a wide array of styles and personalities,” Goodpasture said.
Goodpasture began a fellowship with Ensemble Connect in September 2018. “It’s a two-year fellowship under the auspices of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School that emphasizes chamber music performance, professional development, audience engagement, and music in public schools/community venues. The performing aspect is the main attraction of the program for me. My colleagues are very strong players, each with a distinct style and temperament, and the performance opportunities we are given as fellows are very rewarding,” Goodpasture said. “Meanwhile, playing in public schools and community venues is a unique experience I think every musician should have a bit of exposure to. It’s thought-provoking to work with young students who have little to no experience with music and it is satisfying to see how impactful music can be for people of all ages and circumstances in life.”
The winner of Astral Artists 2019 National Auditions, Goodpasture is a top-prize winner of the Washington International, Seattle International, and Iowa International Piano Competitions, as well as the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky Competition for Pianists. “I’m convinced that the experience at a competition is partially shaped by one’s attitude,” Goodpasture said. “Competitions are often talked about as controversial and ill-suited for a subjective profession, but they are useful in many ways. They require a goal-oriented focus on preparing repertoire and they afford opportunities to perform, which, because of the circumstances, can be challenging but ultimately constructive.”
In 2017, Goodpasture took silver in the Dallas International Piano Competition, a competition organized by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. “I was impressed with the organization and operation of the Dallas International Piano Competition. Everything ran so smoothly. We also performed the concerto portion first followed by the solo, which is usually the opposite at most competitions. I appreciated the variety,” Goodpasture said.
Following the 2017 competition, Richard McKay, Dallas Chamber Symphony’s artistic director and conductor, followed Goodpasture’s career and knew he would be a good match for Saint-Saën’s Piano Concerto 2. “He is an excellent pianist. His playing is uncommonly intelligent and elegant,” McKay said. “The piece is very dramatic. It has a very dramatic range for the pianist to express.”
Goodpasture has long admired the work. “Saint-Saens 2 is a nostalgic piece that I fell in love with as a teenager when I heard Andre Watts’ recording of it for the first time. The first movement unfolds in such dramatic fashion and is truly well paced, balanced and structured. The other two movements are extremely strong and consistent in character. The second is incredibly charming and the last is feisty and unrelenting. I think one of the greatest challenges is commanding the various affects of the concerto comfortably. Not to mention, the piano part is pretty unwavering in activity - the moments where orchestra plays alone aren’t very frequent or long lasting, which requires a consistent focus,” Goodpasture said.”
Dallas Chamber Symphony’s season will continue with its popular UnSilent Film Series on November 23 featuring the silent film, “The Wind.” The 1928 film set in Sweetwater, Texas stars Lillian Gish and the orchestra will debut a new score by Canadian composer Alain Mayrand. “’The Wind’ is one of those films of that era that is so well-made,” McKay said. “I think people will be impressed by how sophisticated the film is.”
The orchestra’s concert on February 11 has a romantic flavor with Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings along with Samuel Barber’s Serenade Op. 1, and Franz Waxman’s “Goyana Sketches.” “All three of those pieces work beautifully together,” McKay said.
The season finale on May 5 includes Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto, featuring Dallas Chamber Symphony’s concertmaster violinist Kazuhiro Takagi and principal cellist Jesús Castro-Balbi. Mendelssohn’s popular “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Overture and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 complete the program. “The company is growing and healthy,” McKay said. “It bodes well for our future.”
Learn more: https://www.dcsymphony.org/