If you ask John Goodman what his favorite Sarasota Concert Association performances have been, he’ll rattle off a list of concert pianists. He sits in his home at Plymouth Harbor, where he speaks about enjoying the concert by Grammy-winning artist Emanuel Ax, the unique recitalist Marc-André Hamelin as well as Lang Lang, one of the most recognizable names who have performed in the series.
The former president of Sarasota Concert Association’s past career was teaching music theory and composition at Boston University School of Music — it’s no wonder the pianist gravitates toward those like himself. He’s been playing since he was 3 years old.
For the past 69 years, Sarasota Concert Association has brought contemporary classical-music performers from around the world to perform in its Great Performers Series at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Tickets range from $40 to $75, or less if you purchase a subscription series. Its mission is to provide as inexpensive tickets as possible. It also hosts Munchtime Musicales, a series of free community concerts featuring local artists.
Goodman was the president of SCA for eight years. In April, the association named Joy McIntyre as its new president. She was Goodman’s friend and former colleague from Boston University since 1987.
SCA is honoring his service at a luncheon featuring a performance by Metropolitan Opera baritone Jason Stearns at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 27 at the Longboat Key Club. Tickets are $95.
When Goodman first moved here from Boston in 2002, tickets to the series were hard to come by. He could only get them from a friend on the board. He says some people still have the belief that tickets are hard to get, but he promises it is not as difficult today, though a few of the performances sell out. In 2003, he joined the board, and in 2005 he became president.
As president, he’s proud the organization was always in the black — even through the recession. He’s also proud that it is an amiable board full of people willing to serve a great deal of time.
The challenges the group faces are the same with other classical-music groups around the country — namely, attracting a younger audience. He also thinks it is becoming more difficult to fill a season with household names in this genre because there is not the same exposure to classical music as 30 years ago.
He hopes it can continue without having to sacrifice the original intention of focusing on classical music.
“We shouldn’t sell out,” he says. “Either we have to find an audience for the real thing we are offering or don’t offer it.”
He doesn’t think all of the board members agree with him on this aspect, but he doesn’t want to be a backseat driver. For now, he’s content in letting his friend Joy McIntyre run the ship — it’s in good hands, he says. His plea is that people spread the word about what he thinks is an exceptional series.
“I think that the (people) who value SCA need to promote it,” he says. “It’s one of the very rich cultural organizations in the city, and I think we’d be very poor without it both for the Great Performers Series and for Munchtime Musicales.”
IF YOU GO
East Coast Chamber Orchestra
East Coast Chamber Orchestra is a collective of musicians from renowned orchestras and chamber groups from around the world. They play less than 10 concerts a year.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Cost: Tickets are $40 to $70
Info: Call 955-0040 or visit scasarasota.org.
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