Claire Nowak

Goode As It Gets

Top pianist Richard Goode makes a rare appearance in Milwaukee, playing a Mozart concerto with the MSO.

By - Jan 21st, 2015 03:31 pm
Richard Goode

Richard Goode

Pianist Richard Goode has performed hundreds of concertos over his career. Some he repeats often, others less so. But he never tires of stepping up to a piano with an orchestra behind him.

“I won’t say that I always find something new,” Goode says, “but I think I’m always happy to go back to them because I love what I find there.”

This weekend, he performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which is actually a premiere, the first performance of this work by the MSO. It’s one Goode doesn’t play as often as he’d like, so he makes the most of it when he does. The first movement has a lively vibe with tender musical phrases, then quickly turns tragic and “almost pathetic” in the next movement. The composer’s unexpected time signature changes make the work a “technical tour de force” that never ceases to impress, Goode says. “The first time people hear it, they’re quite taken aback by it. I still am, even though I’ve been playing the piece for a long time.”

Quick emotional transitions — often drastic change in tone and mood — are characteristic in each of Mozart’s concertos. Yet they occur so smoothly—Goode thinks almost magically—that they seem natural. The challenge in keeping it natural is being open to those nuances of feeling and properly reflecting them to the audience, as if exposed to them for the first time.

MSO and conductor Edo de Waart will also perform Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in C Major as part of this weekend’s program. The pieces channel different tones stylistically. Schubert, for instance, is more introverted and tragic throughout, while Mozart conveys mixed emotions, simultaneous vivacity and deep sadness. Together, Goode says, they make a diverse, powerful program.

“In Beethoven, you experience very powerfully one emotion and then you experience very powerfully another,” Goode says. “In Mozart, and some ways in Schubert, you experience many of these emotions together, and you don’t quite know how you got from one to another.”

Goode has only performed with the MSO once before: in the late 1990s to play a different Mozart concerto under conductor Lucas Foss. Though he is looking forward to being surrounded once again by Milwaukee’s sights and sounds (and smells—he loves German food), he is most excited to perform the music he loves, written by a composer who knew how to make instruments sing.

“I tend to think of playing the piano as me trying to voice the piano,” Goode says, “and have a voice in the piano.”

8 p.m. Jan. 24 & 2:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $21-81, available online or by calling 414-291-7605.

Jamie Breiwick

As far as jazz musicians go, Jamie Breiwick has the best of both worlds. During the week, he works as Director of Bands at Maple Dale School in Fox Point. He has taught there for 13 years, and was even nominated for the first Grammy Music Educator Award in 2013.

But the trumpeter also gets to perform weekly, either at restaurants like Mason Street Grill or venues like The Jazz Estate. His upcoming performance on Friday takes him to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. His group Dreamland will play the work of Thelonious Monk.

Breiwick first listened to Monk at the suggestion of a friend who was studying the jazz composer for a masters degree. The more Breiwick investigated into Monk’s life and compositions, the more he became fascinated with the pianist’s style and methods of writing. One composition—“Dreamland”—particularly intrigued him, since little is known about its background. He later discovered it was recorded only twice as an “unidentified piano solo” and decided it could make for a catchy band name. He formed Dreamland with pianist Mark Davis, bassist John Price and drummer Devin Drobka, a group dedicated to sharing Monk’s music, even the forgotten pieces, with the world.

“The compositions are really unique and idiosyncratic,” Breiwick says. “There’s nothing really like how he writes.”

The group will perform only Monk’s material Friday, focusing on his ballads and other compositions that are not publicly performed as often. Breiwick also plans on talking about the music throughout the show, educating the audience on how “challenging yet accessible” Monk’s work really is.

8 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $25, available online or by calling 262-781-9520.


The Concord Chamber Orchestra’s next food-inspired concert features a variety of ensembles and musical styles. Think of it as a musical sample platter, much like the culinary dish after which it is named. Performance selections include works from Mozart, Ravel and Bach.

1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Nicolet High School. Tickets are $10, available online.

Jazz Heritage Festival

Musicians from Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s jazz studies program perform. Professional jazz musicians will also host performance clinics.

1 p.m. Jan. 24 at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Tickets are $12, available at the door or by calling 414-267-2950.

0 thoughts on “Classical: Goode As It Gets”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Claire, do you know why the MSO substituted the Schubert for the piece that was originally planned, Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony? I was almost dismayed when I found out about the program chance (thought the Schubert 9 is a fantastic piece), but I figure budget limits may have caused the change (since Schubert does not require as many musicians as Shostakovich).

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us