Steuart Goodwin has been a musician since the age of 9, having studied cornet, piano, organ, horn, and composition, and he has been fascinated from early childhood with the sounds and mechanism of pipe organs. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the University of Redlands, Steuart won a Fulbright Grant to study organ building in the Netherlands. Upon returning home to California, he started Goodwin Pipe Organs and has since built six new organs, eight essentially new organs using some parts from older instruments, and two restorations of 19th century organs. Steuart plays horn in the Redlands Community Orchestra and also served as the board vice-president in the RCO’s inaugural year.
The RCO premiered Steuart’s new piece, Morceau, at our March 8, 2015 concert. Morceau is a word referring to “a short musical or literary work”. About this work, Steuart says, “My goal was to write idiomatically for the various instruments, keeping the work relatively easy to learn and to play. I felt that a great deal of twentieth century music was audience unfriendly so I wanted to write something audiences could enjoy upon a first hearing. At the same time I hoped to make the piece complex enough in form, counterpoint and orchestration to appeal to those with musical training.” To hear more of Steuart’s music, check out his Youtube channel.
Listen to the recording of the RCO’s performance of Steuart’s piece:
Listen to Steuart talk about composing in a live recording of the “Ask the Composer” session during the concert:
Last year, recognizing that it can be difficult for composers to get their works performed, the orchestra’s board of directors instituted a Composition Project for our players who are also composers. Three new works were selected and Steuart Goodwin’s Morceau is the first to be performed. Works by Sandy Megas and Robert Winokur will appear on future programs. Morceau is a word referring to a short literary or musical work; the playing time for Morceau Is about five minutes. It is based on two motivic ideas. The first involves stacked thirds—major, minor and augmented. The second motif consists of an accented repeated note figure in dotted rhythm followed by a longer note one half-step lower. These ideas are explored in various moods, instrumental groupings, solo lines and contrapuntal devices.