Manager’s error wrecks pianist’s longed-for Paris debut

Manager’s error wrecks pianist’s longed-for Paris debut

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norman lebrecht

March 02, 2016

This painful confession has just been posted by the Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear:

stewart goodyear

 

It hurts my heart to post this: Due to the mistakes of my management company, I might not be able to perform Messiaen’s Turangalila-Symphonie with Paavo Jarvi and Orchestre de Paris next month. This was a performance I was very much looking forward to. This was a work that I absolutely adored when I first heard it as a teenager. My first performance of this work was when I was 30 years old…For those who know me, I seize on inspiration despite people thinking the task impossible to accomplish…I accepted an engagement to perform this work with Peter Oundjian and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Musicians even though I had only a month to learn the piano part. I worked 8 hours each day to prepare, the historic recordings of a very young Yvonne Loriod as my guide. The concert went wonderfully, and I couldn’t wait to perform this masterwork again.

I have performed this piece three more times since, twice with Paavo Jarvi and once with Kristjan Jarvi, two collaborations that I will always treasure. My first Turangalila collaboration with Paavo was with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2011…This was also my first collaboration with the eminent Cynthia Millar. I have absolutely no idea whether the Cincinnati Symphony will back me when I say that this was a performance to remember. Those of you who know me, know that I am my own hardest critic and would not call a performance a triumph if it was not. The only evidence I can give you for the Cincinnati performance were the rave reviews it received from both critics and audiences, and the fact that I was invited to perform the Turangalila-Symphonie again two years later with Paavo, Cynthia and hr-Sinfonieorchester – Frankfurt Radio Symphony in 2013. You could hear that performance yourself on Youtube.


I was very much looking forward to my trip to Paris…I have never been there before, and the idea of performing Messiaen in the composer’s home town had a very special significance to me. There is so much creativity, history and beauty in the city of Paris, and to perform in such an environment is an inspiration to all to all musicians. It saddens me deeply that because of a foolish scheduling mistake on my manager’s part that I will not be able to attend the first rehearsal of the Turangalila-Symphonie. There are only two rehearsals and a dress rehearsal before the concert, and I understand that each rehearsal is crucial to the success of this concert. I memorized the entire orchestral score and well as my piano part in preparation for this concert. I wish I could roll back the clock on this unfortunately scenario, but it is out of my hands. I am still hoping against hope that somehow, miraculously, I can fulfill the engagement, but that is also now out of my hands.

I send my warmest wishes to Paavo Jarvi, Cynthia Millar, Orchestre de Paris, and whoever is my replacement for the piano part, a triumphant and inspired performance of Messiaen’s Turangaglila-Symphonie.

Stewart is represented by CAMI Music.

Comments

  • Jmrd says:

    I had the pleasure of attending a performance of the Emperor concerto by Mr Goodyear and the small but dedicated Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. People were on their feet cheering after the performance. He did an encore of a movement appassionata. He is a brilliant musician and I wish him the best of luck.

  • May says:

    Who cares? Instead of a provoking headline implicating the manager, how about either not publishing this non-story or creating a new one: pianist forced to choose between two gigs and decides to cancel his Paris debut. When will slippedisc.com start researching stories instead of reposting every petulant rant from disgruntled artists?

  • Will Duffay says:

    Does the agent get a right of reply? I’d be interested to see if there really was an error, or if communications weren’t attended to…

  • Robert King says:

    Goodness me. If every double booking made by an artist or an artist manager made a headline piece in SD, the site would swiftly crash under the strain. I’ve lost count of how many double bookings, accidental or sometimes deliberate, I’ve quietly dealt with when an artist suddenly can’t quite manage an overambitious schedule after all.

    Possibly the concert was taken on, rehearsals were mentioned but maybe not totally finalised (as the full rehearsal schedule wasn’t then by created), but there was always going to be a bit of a tight squeeze with the other date. Then when the rehearsals were precisely scheduled, the clash became clear. There was for a while probably a hope that the two jobs could still dovetail (more often than not in these circumstances a compromise is reached), but in this case someone, maybe the conductor, put a foot down, said no, and one or other job had to go.

    But really this is hardly a big story – a substitute will be found (or has been – there are surely more than a few people who can play this work), and the performance will take place.

    However, if as the result of this veritable storm in a teacup, the artist leaves the management company in a huge huff, or conversely the management fires their artist for trashing them somewhat publicly, that will be much more fun as a story…

  • Burt says:

    Listen closely and hopefully you will hear him being dropped by his management, which by the way is not the train wreck CAMI Music but the parent train wreck CAMI. Another artist without a reasonable sense of proportion and a management company that doesn’t manage but simply books their artists. And not terribly well it would seem.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    It’s a bit heavy on the self-promotion for a scheduling error announcement.

  • DanaS says:

    Sounds like Mr. Goodyear wants out of his contract with CAMI and is taking the steps necessary to be let go.

  • Mike says:

    what a pompous little p***

  • Stacey says:

    Truth be told, Stewart Goodyear was nowhere to be seen before Mark Alpert took him on. There is nothing as charming for a potential new management as an artist publicly bashing his agent.

  • Count Tostoff says:

    He could always regroup to the Ondes Martenot. Almost as much visibilty.

  • RW2013 says:

    Get Roger Muraro. I heard him play it twice on the weekend and he’s nailed it!
    He also doesn’t have to write “painful confessions” on SD to get noticed.

  • Stewart Goodyear says:

    Dear trolls,
    There is a story a good friend told me about when she was about 20 or 21 years old. There was a certain incident where she spoke up against what was happening at the school. She had discussed this incident with her roommates at the college, and thought that she would get their support when she spoke up. Instead, no one supported her. Later on in the day, one of her professors at the college saw her, and discussed how she spoke up. He said “I am sure you were disappointed in your friends because no one supported you. But I am proud that you did speak out. In the future, please continue to speak up where there is injustice. Do not count on other people to support you, but depend on your own inner strength, and that will make you a person that you are proud of.”
    Every time I am in a situation where ignorant and uninformed commentators like yourselves try to undermine and smear my confidence and my self-worth, I remember this story and it gives me strength.

    • Peter says:

      Dear Stewart Goodyear,
      to add to the advice of the professor, if you feel the need to address the trolls, you are losing it. Don’t ever go there. In their territory they beat you with experience easily.
      Your opening post, for whatever reason you wrote it, is not helping your cause a bit.
      You must deal with these issues with the parties involved only, not with the public.
      Bad judgement from you to wash the dirty clothes in public, are you that needy of attention and your poor feelings that hurt?

    • Robert King says:

      Dear Mr Goodyear

      Perhaps you would be good enough to explain to SD’s readers (who do seem, from other postings, to include a decent number of people who are influential in the music business and have a lot of experience) what exactly did go on, logistically? Your posting is long on emotion, but short on factual detail.

      Normally such spats stay between artist and manager, but you have chosen to make this scheduling problem public. And as you are criticising your management company in public, might you be best to show some evidence backing your criticism? Apparently a miscalculation, or a degree of aver-ambition, or a lack of communication, has happened somewhere down the line, but if you want our sympathy, you do need to give us some evidence as to what happened, and as to why you are blameless, and why your managers can so publicly be held to be at fault.

      Looking at your diary on the CAMI website yesterday it wasn’t clear what the clash actually was, as there didn’t seem to be a “head-on” showing there. Did you not know about the rehearsal schedule for OdP in advance? What was the other clash out of which you couldn’t get? Why did you drop the OdP date and not the clashing date? Did one date come in later than the other? Was the contract at OdP late in arriving? Did their schedule change? Did your travel not work after all? Did you not know about one date? Had you not previously talked to your manager about the tight scheduling?

      Experience shows that the relationship between management and artist is best when it is two-way, part of which includes regular consultations regarding diary and scheduling – especially as you seem to have a pretty full diary (for which can maybe CAMI take some credit?). Or do you not need them as you are super-organised and hi-tech’d, with a fantastic contacts list, and can do the whole selling and managing and contracting biz yourself whilst practising and being on the road?

      No-one doubts that you are upset, and that something unfortunate has happened, but – since you have, as Sir Humphrey would say, bravely chosen to wash your clothes in public – until chapter and verse is given, people can only surmise. For yours is not the only schedule collision that has occurred in the history of artist management…

      • Michael W says:

        I will keep this brief. I have had the chance to meet and interview Stewart Goodyear on more than one occasion and can tell you he is not only an artist of great integrity, but an honest, open and thoughtful person. His post about missing the concert was undoubtedly genuine and from the heart.

    • Steven says:

      Here’s a non-troll and entirely serious tip. It doesn’t matter whether you are wrong or right – really – because how you are handling it is completely wrong regardless. Ergo, you’re in the wrong.

      Firstly, nobody – repeat nobody – is so grand and mighty that their scheduling isn’t at the end of the day their own problem. Whilst clearly a fine pianist you’re not at the “indispensable” level, or they would have to cancel the gig entirely, no? You’ve managed to take the path that damages you most, ultimately, and you’re taking it of your own volition. So clearly, you need to get real – abdicating your responsibility as a professional just seems so incredibly churlish. The message the people that hire you get from this? That you don’t personally look after (or care about) the business side of your career, and if there is any problem, instead of sorting it out, you’ll moan, publicly. That makes you a liability. Promoters dislike liabilities unless they are inevitable.

      Your schedule is your problem, it’s YOUR career, and if mistakes are made, well, you are the master (again, it’s your career). Look up the concept of “respondeat superior” in Principal-Agent relationships. It is important. It is how the world works.

      If your representation make mistakes, you eat it, that’s what it’s like having responsibilities and employees (and like it or not, they are basically commission employees, in a sense, they work for you). If they really made a mistake and it’s that serious, you FIRE them, you don’t moan about it on the internet. Otherwise you discuss it with them professionally and try and ensure better communication in the future.

      If, as is usually the case, the blame is a little bit evenly spread, if you are honest…which it usually is in these situations, especially where the artist REALLY wants to do the gig and maybe, just maybe, “ignores” some loose ends in terms of business…then getting all huffy about it helps nobody, because it’s at least possible you are in part to blame yourself, if only for *taking your eye off the ball* in terms of business. Did you have the dates in writing? If not, you *didn’t have them at all*. If you didn’t ask, because you were too busy getting excited – that is at least partly your fault.

      If your management really was incompetent, that’s still YOUR fault for having let that situation arise in your career. If you are honest with yourself then you’ll know that this is true…but many artists aren’t, which is why there are so many failed artists out there in the world. I know of no successful top flight musician who isn’t hands on with this stuff.

      They work for you. If you are truly 100% right (who knows, because you haven’t mentioned any of the pertinent facts)…then set them straight, privately, or fire them, publicly or however you like, but whining? Nobody cares. It’s fun to watch the train crash, which is why anybody is reading, but in six months time? Who cares.

      P.S. Informing the world of a newly “open” gig when you still want it to happen is probably a bad idea, I’m sure OdP is getting calls from the representation of people who can also play this piece, of which there are probably more than a few in Paris alone…

  • notcami@yahoo.com says:

    Something doesn’t smell right here.

    Why did the double book result in canceling this gig, not the other one?

  • Sandra Tremblay says:

    I am a friend of Stew and he works very hard on a piece, practices long hours each day and gives it his all for every concert.
    He would always leave early from a dinner party as he needs to get up at 5:45 am to practice for long hours. He’s a disciplined young man, passionate about his work and I am sad his Management didn’t negotiate to secure his performance w/ Orchestre de Paris. His post on FB came from his heart. Thank you SD for writing about it.

  • Tom says:

    Wow, that’s a fine example of big headedness. Writing an article about a mistake the manager made and loosing a gig, only mentioning the mistake itself in the last couple of lines, while the rest is a glorification of how fantastic he is.
    I fully agree with the other comments: 1) if Paris was so important, why didn’t he just cancel the other concert?; 2) did he even talk to the manager as to why this overlap existed? Maybe it was a rescheduling of the rehearsals and no mistake of he agent at all.
    And did he try to speak to he organiser? Missing one rehearsal isn’t that bad if you have a second rehearsal and a dress. I sometimes even organise concerts where the soloist turns up for a 30 minute raccord and the dress, that’s it.

    This article says more about the pianist than CAMI. I do hope they let him go to teach him a lesson in humility.

  • Richard S says:

    Have to agree with the critics here. A piece of poor judgement on Mr Goodyear’s part to seek to publish this. And unhelpful of SD to provide him with the forum. This should have been addressed behind closed doors. It will be difficult for Mr Goodyear to gain the trust of a manager in future after this little foray into self-regarding manager-bashing whinging.

  • Ray Richardson says:

    To keep abreast with the current affairs of classical music, S D is undoubtedly a useful site, though a degree of sceptic appraisal must always be kept to separate the gems from the slants and sensationalisms that N L cannot stop himself from making. The article at the top from this self-important pianist should never have reached our computer screens, it is as much a regrettable lack of professionalism on the part of NL as it is from Stewart Goodyear and the two have here combined to produce this worthless piece of non-journalism that tells nothing about the facts of the matter which I can only think are probably even more uninteresting.

  • Nicola Lefanu says:

    ==My first performance of this work was when I was 30 years old

    What is so great about this? He was barely a prodigy.

    He has done a lot of self-harm with this posting !

  • Simon Evnine says:

    And this folksy, rambling story about his good friend and the college professor with the undisclosed grievance doesn’t dignify him either.

  • Leonard Hill says:

    Dear All,

    I read all the comments here and I must add few words. It is the truth that we barely know what exactly happened and we don’t have many facts to think about. It is the truth that Mr. Goodyear’s post is full of emotions . So it is not easy to understand what is really going on. But maybe my point of view and my observations will help to shed more light on the case.
    I’ve followed Mr. Goodyear’s сarreer with great interest because in my opinion, he is an extraordinary artist. I heard many of his concerts and I always check the CAMI’s webpage to see if Mr. Goodyear gives a concert near the place where I live. Therefore I noticed that there were 3 new concert added to the webpage since Monday. I was happy at first because two of those concerts are in British Columbia. But then I read the post of Mr. Goodyear and I believe he was right about the mistake of his manager. Those concerts weren’t there before, the concert in Paris was there since last year. I think that those 3 concerts are the part of the tour with Victoria Symphony. I also believe that there must be a contract which prevents Mr. Goodyear from stepping back from the part of that tour, so he actually had no choice. Honestly (with all due respect to the Victoria Symphony), Paris National Orchestra and Messiaen is a huge event. If he had a choice, do you think that he would give this opportunity up? I don’t think so.
    Was Mr. Goodyear’s post truthful? As a person who worked for a music industry more then 10 years, I absolutely believe him. Managers usually expoit artist instead of managing them. Was it wise to post about it ? Probably not. I would love to say that there is a justice in this world but there is none. We have to learn how to live with it. But I also admire the people who have the courage to tell the truth. Because world would never change without truth. And it seems to me that the manager needed to learn a lesson. It certainly won’t help Mr. Goodyear but it could be helpful for another artists in CAMI. I hope that Mr. Goodyear will find a better management who would be able to properly promote his incredible skills and talent.

    Leo

    • Tom says:

      As far as I can see, the last concert in Canada is on April 4th and the concert in Paris on April 10th. That gives him 6 days to travel and rehearse. Of course we do not know the rehearsal schedule of the Paris concert, but it would seem highly unlikely that they would be unable to do the rehearsal on the 5th (if there is one) without the pianist. He could have been available on April 6-7-8-9 for any Sitzprobe and/or dress rehearsal, which for any pianist who calls himself a professional should be sufficient.

      • Leonard Hill says:

        As he wrote, there are only 2 rehearsals and before dress rehearsal. He wrote in his post that he won’t get to the first rehearsal, so it must be planned with no possibility to reschedule. Have you ever listened to the Turangalila Symphony? I would say that 3 rehearsals with orchestra are not enough for this piece.

        • Tom says:

          I admit that I don’t know the piece. But we once had a concert with Strauss’ Burlesque and Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine (featuring Cynthia Millar as well, by the way), for which we had 2 rehearsals and a dress which was tight, but worked out just fine.

          In stead of glorifying what a fantastic artist he is, maybe Mr Goodyear should have taken the time to inform us about the steps he and/or his agent undertook. Is it so that the rehearsals couldn’t be rescheduled? Is it so that the first rehearsal was really impossible to attend? Why did he cancel Paris and not Victoria?

          What I don’t like about this post, is that he is just praising himself for being fantastic and flawless, while blaming his agent for things he doesn’t really explain.

          If he couldn’t attend the first rehearsal, that means that this rehearsal was on April 5th or before. If that’s the case, I would rather blame the theatre in Paris for poor planning. You don’t need 7 days for two rehearsals, that’s totally counterproductive. Which is why I suppose very much that there are things he’s not telling us, which would speak in the agent’s advantage.

          • Leonard Hill says:

            You are completelly wrong about 7 days for rehearsal. If he has a concert on April 4th (evening), it means that he would leave Canada on 5th at best. It is at least 12 hours of flight from BC + 8 hours of time shift. That makes 20 hours which means another day lost. So he could rehearse on April 6th if you don’t want to give him any time to get over a jetleg. But the first rehearsal was probably scheduled before this date. But it had to be his manager who communicated with the production of Paris Orchestra (that’s what managers do) and counted poorly the possibilities of Mr. Goodyear to get to the rehearsal. He wrote that he cannot make the first rehearsal, so I am sure he cannot. As I said, I worked in a music industry for long, I also worked in production and negotiated with many European artists. If you plan a reharsal with an orchestra, you have to do it in advance and there is not many possibilities to change the plans. Do you have any idea how big problem is to reschedule a rehearsal, how many people you have to coordinate?
            Listen to the piece on youtube and then you can judge the level and the difference between the pieces you mentioned.
            Yes, Mr. Goodyear could give us more details. Why he didn’t choose Paris? As I said, it must be the matter of contract. When I see his post, I can see a totally different meaning from what you see. And worked with too many artists to understand, why he is so dissapointed and mad at his manager.

  • Nicola Lefanu says:

    ==. I memorized the entire orchestral score and well as my piano part in preparation for this concert

    Shame he didn’t memorize the date of the gig. There’s a story about Z Mehta forgetting where he would be performing at the end of a season and phoning Barenboim who was able to memorize not just his own schedule, but those of his friends as well.

    • Ray Ricahrdson says:

      Brilliant!

    • RODNEY GREENBERG says:

      There’s a story about Mehta partnering Barenboim in a Beethoven concerto. The jet-setters haven’t had time to rehearse and Barenboim arrives at the concert just in time. He settles at the piano and looks at the maestro. Mehta stares back. Long silence. Barenboim frowns, gets up, looks at the score on the conductor’s stand. It’s Beethoven Number 4. Says ZM: “So? I was waiting for you to start.” DB: “But I thought tonight we’re doing Number 3?”

      Can anyone say:

      [1] Whether this actually happened or is it just a good yarn?
      [2] If it’s true, how was it resolved? [Clue: the conductor’s score being No. 4, so were all the orchestral parts in front of the players. And as you say Nicola, DB has a fabulous memory].

  • John Borstlap says:

    When dates clash, it is mostly the performer who has to make a decision. I know of a conductor who was invited by the Vienna Phil to replace another one who had fallen ill, presenting an opportunity that would be a ‘dream come true’, but since he had a commitment to another orchestra, he had to say ‘no’ and stuck to his scheduled appearance. Such integrity paid-off: soon afterwards he was invited anyway in Vienna and made a brilliant debut because his diary happened to have an open spot.

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