Isador Goodman AM 1909-1982

Isador Goodman

Isador Goodman

In 1952 he formed his own Sydney Concert Orchestra for a series called Music for Pleasure on the ABC.

On the opening night of TCN9 in Sydney, Goodman presented a program called Accent on Strings.

In February 1974 he was soloist for the Sydney Opera House concerts.

His recital at the Sydney Town Hall on 26 September 1982 was his last. He died on 2 December.

 

He toured New Zealand again and undertook a series of concerts for the ABC. Then, in Melbourne, he was soloist in Concerto for You, a series of light classical programs produced by radio 3DB, spotlighting their in-house symphony orchestra. Melodiously Yours followed. In 1952 he formed his own Sydney Concert Orchestra for a series called Music for Pleasure on the ABC. Less congenial was a stint for Harry Wren in variety at the Palladium in Sydney. According to critic Lindsey Browne, ‘Wit hovered over the subject of sex as buzzards hover over desert nomads.’ Similarly disappointing was what happened to his lush, impressionist score for Charles Chauvel’s 1955 film Jedda: Elsa Chauvel scrapped the most innovative passages and replaced them with old-fashioned commercial ‘mood’ music. Back in Melbourne he tinkled for diners in the elegant environment of Menzies’ Hotel.

On the opening night of TCN9 in Sydney, Goodman presented a program called Accent on Strings; he became the channel’s musical director and stayed there until late 1960. In 1963 he toured as musical director for Garnet H. Carroll’s production of The King and I. In 1965 J. & N. Tait engaged him to tour Australia and New Zealand as accompanist and associate artist for the beloved English entertainer Gracie Fields.

In 1967 Goodman returned to teaching at the NSW Conservatorium. Injuries from a serious car crash in 1969 put him out of action for four years, but he made a triumphant return to the concert platform with an all-Chopin recital in Sydney in 1973. Later that year he played with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in the first series of concerts at the Sydney Opera House. In February 1974 he was soloist for the Sydney Opera House concerts conducted by the legendary visiting American conductor Arthur Fiedler. He was back early in 1975, when he played Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody at the Concert for Darwin, staged to raise funds for the city devastated by Cyclone Tracey. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981.

In his last years Goodman’s career took a new turn. He joined Philips’ roster of major international classical musicians, recording highly acclaimed albums from 1977 until shortly before his death. There were more concerts, most notably a recital under the management of Clifford Hocking at the new Hamer Hall in Melbourne on 31 July 1982.     His recital at the Sydney Town Hall on 26 September 1982 was his last. He died on 2 December.

Frank Van Straten, 2007

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Biographical references

Virginia Goodman: Isador Goodman – A Life in Music, Collins, 1983
Michael Harrison: ‘Isador Goodman’, notes for Belart CD 432207
Thomas Jude Sammut: ‘Isador Goodman’, in The Oxford Companion to Music, Oxford University Press, 1997