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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada  (stroke)
Birth NameGlenn Herbert Gold

Mini Bio (1)

Glenn Herbert Gould was born Glen Gold on September 25, 1932, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His mother was a great-grand niece of Edvard Grieg. Young Gould was playing with piano from the age of 3, and started regular lessons with his mother from the age of 4. At the age of 10 Gould was admitted to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where his piano teacher was Alberto Guerrero. In 1946 Gould, then only 13 years old, successfully performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He made his first recording with the CBC in 1950, and gradually came to liking the studio environment better that a live performance to an audience.

Glenn Gould was touring with concert performances until the age of 31. He was the first performer from North America to play in the Soviet Union since the Second World War. His 1957 tour became possible because Nikita Khrushchev initiated the "Thaw" amidst the Cold War. Gould's concerts featured Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. He was also allowed to perform the music of Arnold Schönberg, and Alban Berg which was previously under the ban by Soviet censorship. Gould reciprocated by popularizing the music of Dmitri Shostakovich in the West. In April 1964, Gould gave his last public performance in Los Angeles, California.

For the rest of his life Gould devoted his career to recording, writing, and broadcasting. His Grammy awarded 1981 studio recording of 'Goldberg Variations', as well, as his other recordings of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, are widely considered as definitive. Gould was posthumously awarded another Grammy for his recording of Piano sonatas Nos. 12 and 13 by Ludwig van Beethoven. His unusual and inspirational interpretations of classical repertoire were criticized by some and acclaimed by many. He died of a stroke on October 4, 1982, and was laid to rest in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Gould was especially known for his eccentric, but strong and convincing performances. Although he could be sometimes heard saying a word or quietly singing along with his playing, Gould was doing that instinctively to achieve the final result, which was outstanding.

Gould played only his own piano. His Steinway piano was technically adjusted to his touch. This adjustments enabled Gould to play piano with superior control of the sound, which allowed him to make recordings of very fine quality. He also said about his piano: "it is the best vehicle to express my ideas."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Trade Mark (1)

Humming while playing the piano

Trivia (10)

Was known to simply not show up for concerts when he was the featured soloist. Bernstein took note of this in 1962 when he began his public disclaimer of Gould's interpretation of the Brahms concerto with "Don't be frightened. Mr. Gould is here, will appear in a moment".
A statue of Glenn Gould is located outside CBC Headquarters in Toronto on Front Street. He's seated on a park bench in his trademark winter coat (often worn in the heat of summer).
A biography of Gould by his friend Peter F. Ostwald suggests Gould had Asperger's Syndrome.
Was a vegetarian.
Attended same east-end Toronto high school (Malvern Collegiate) as Norman Jewison.
Performed the Brahms D minor piano concerto with the New York Philharmonic in 1962 in a manner which led to Leonard Bernstein publicly disassociating himself from Gould's interpretation.
He refused to play Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and much of the other core piano repertoire, deriding their masterpieces as empty theatrical gestures. He especially disliked Mozart, and named the obscure 17th century English composer Orlando Gibbons as his all-time favorite.
Wore overcoats in the summer and soaked his hands in hot water before performing.
Canadian pianist known for his sometimes eccentric performances. He would sit on a piano stool no higher than 12 inches from the floor, with his face barely inches from the keyboard of his instrument. And in his recordings, one can often hear him vocalizing the music that he is playing.
Inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998 (charter member).

Personal Quotes (26)

I cannot bear assaults of any kind, and it seems to me that the Beatles essentially were out to affront and to assault.
When I broke 20, I said to myself, 'I will give concerts until I'm approximately 30.' And I made it a year and a half late, but, nevertheless, that's what I did. When I broke 30, I said, 'I think I should be recording until I'm about 50.'
I find myself more genuinely drawn to the essence of Beethoven in Schnabel than I ever have been by anybody.
I detest audiences. Not in their individual components but en masse... I think they are a force of evil.
By the time I was six, I made an important discovery that I get along much better with animals than humans.
Behind every silver lining, there's a cloud.
There's a very curious and - and almost sadistic lust for blood that overcomes the concert listener, and there's a waiting for it to happen: a waiting for the horn to fluff; a waiting for the strings to become ragged; a waiting for the conductor to forget the subdivide, you know? And it's dreadful!
I don't much care for the sunlight or bright colours of any kind.
The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
I'm fascinated with what happens to the creative output when you isolate yourself from the approval and disapproval of the people around you.
I could read music before I could read.
It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.
Fingers don't have much to do with playing the piano. The idea that they do must be unlearned.
Isolation is the one sure way to human happiness.
Perhaps the most important thing that technology does is free the listener to participate in ways that in all previous periods of listening were governed by the performer.
I treat recorded tapes the way a film director treats his rushes.
Beethoven's reputation is based entirely on gossip. The middle Beethoven represents a supreme example of a composer on an ego trip.
Chopin, Schubert, and Liszt had no idea of how to write for the piano.
Until I was about 13, somehow I managed to assume that everyone reacted to everything just about as I did. I took it for granted that everyone shared my passion for overcast skies. It came as quite a shock when I discovered that there were actually people who preferred sunshine.
Concert pianists are really afraid to try out the Beethoven Fourth Concerto if the Third happens to be their specialty. That's the piece they had such success with on Long Island, by George, and it will surely bring them success in Connecticut. So first there's tremendous conservatism. And then stagnation sets in. Or it certainly did in me.
To me, the ideal artist-to-audience relationship is a one-to-zero relationship. The artist should be granted anonymity.
At concerts I felt demeaned, like a vaudevillian.
I think there's a fallacy that's been concocted by the music teachers' profession, to wit: that there's a certain sequence of events necessary in order to have the revealed truth about the way one produces a given effect on a given instrument.
One does not play the piano with one's fingers: one plays the piano with one's mind.
I don't think any of the early Romantic composers knew how to write for the piano... The music of that era is full of empty theatrical gestures, full of exhibitionism, and it has a worldly, hedonistic quality that simply turns me off.
I love the early sonatas; I love the early Mozart, period. I'm really fond of that moment when he was either emulating Haydn or Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach or anybody but himself. The moment he found himself, as conventional wisdom would have it, at the age of 18 or 19 or 20, I stop being so interested in him.

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