Your father had the Principal Tuba position at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for 36 years – did you feel destined for the Sydney Symphony’s brass section?

From a very early age, I was exposed to music around the house with my father Cliff’s practicing and pupils coming for lessons, as well as old LPs of recordings played in the background. On Saturday mornings, I looked forward to going with him to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra rehearsals at the ABC Studio or Sydney Town Hall and would sit behind the brass section.

Paul Goodchild, Sydney Symphony OrchestraSydney Symphony Orchestra Associate Principal Trumpet Paul Goodchild. Photo © Ant Geernaert

How ready were you for the job when you got your full-time job at the SSO at 18?

Prior to joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, I had played a few performances with the Australian Opera in their off-stage bands and toured with the Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra and D’Oyly Carte Orchestra. By the time I joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, I had a bit of experience under my belt.

What were the most important lessons you learned on the job?

Be a good listener and always be prepared.

What have been the biggest highlights?

One of my greatest joys was playing in the orchestra and the Sydney Brass with my father. Cliff had been my mentor from a very early age and we were great mates!

Being part of overseas tours has also been a wonderful part of the job. Getting to show the rest of the world what Sydney has to offer playing in the great concert halls of the world – all this is such a buzz! My favourite chief conductor was Zdeněk Mácal –  he left a lasting impression on me with his passion and artistic drive. Mariss Jansons came to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and that was memorable, as was a wonderful week with Witold Lutosławski conducting his own music. Some of my favourite soloists have been soprano Jessye Norman, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, flautist James Galway, jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves and Sting!

Why did you choose the Lovelock concerto for this celebration concert?

The Lovelock Concerto was recorded by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with Principal Trumpet John Robertson 50 years ago and is no longer available. I absolutely adore the piece and have always wanted to perform it. I’m so glad that people will be able to hear it again. It’s a really challenging work as it is full of contrasts – there are some extremely high notes and beautiful long melodic lines mixed with highly virtuosic passages. Negotiating the long phrases will be really enjoyable as there is a lot of interplay between soloist and orchestra.

For you, what are the pleasures of the work?

One of the great joys in the concerto is the slow movement as you can really put your heart and soul into the beautiful melodic lines. The cadenza in the last movement is nothing short of thrilling!

What’s next for you?

I hope to return to China in the next 12 months for more recitals and masterclasses as well as touring to regional New South Wales with Sydney Brass. In the second half of the year, I am organising some trumpet and organ concerts in Sydney, the Central Coast and Southern Highlands.

I’m also looking forward to plenty of concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, including Britten’s Peter Grimes in Concert in July – an opera in concert with tenor Stuart Skelton and our Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, David Robertson. Our Mahler’s Klagende Lied program with conductor Simone Young and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs in December will top off the year for me.


The Sydney Symphony Celebrates Paul Goodchild is at the Sydney Opera House May 8 – 10

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