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Glenn Gould

It's hard to overstate the importance of Canadian pianist Glen Gould, who is most noted for performing J.S. Bach's keyboard works with unmatched technical and artistic facility, as a modern ambassador of Baroque music. Gould was born in Toronto in 1932 and studied with his mother until he was 10, when he was accepted as a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music. There he took lessons under Alberto Guerrero and Frederick C. Silvester. In 1945 he gave his first recital, and he performed Beethoven's 4th piano concerto that year with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Though his stage career was fairly short -- he gave up public performance in 1964 -- he was the first North American pianist to play in Russia after World War II and gave a number of great performances on the CBC. Between 1964 and '82, Gould made scores of recordings; he taped definitive interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, but he is perhaps best known for performing complex contrapuntal passages of Bach with remarkable clarity. His life has been the subject of exhaustive study, as has his eccentric personality, which included an aversion to handshakes and regular trips to a diner for scrambled eggs at 2 A.M.

Glenn Gould Concert Films

  • The Russian Journey

    Glenn Gould

    Year: 2013

    Runtime: 56 min

    The date is May 2nd, 1957. Stalin died only four years before and perestroika is still a long way off. However, the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who is just 24, arrives in Moscow for an exceptional tour: he is the first North American musician to play behind the iron curtain. This is the story that Glenn Gould in Russia tells by revealing documents from the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that had remained classified for years. Witness accounts from musicians such as Ashkenazy and Rostropovitch, parts of the original recordings of Gould’s concerts in Moscow and Leningrad, as well as a recording that had never been released before of his lecture-recital in Leningrad make this an invaluable documentary revealing an aspect of Glenn Gould’s artistry that few people are aware of.
     
     

Glenn Gould Top Tracks