Early Collaborations: An Interview with Cellist Coenraad Bloemendal

By Penny Johnson, Contributing Author

In the case of every interview I have done with friends and colleagues of Glenn Gould, what strikes me most is the precious quality with which they reminisce about their time with the artist.  More than anything, I am left with the knowledge that apart from being a genius of the highest order, the thing that sets Glenn Gould apart from others is the compassion he demonstrated towards his fellow man.  My favourite comment comes from former CBC technician and long-time Gould friend, Lorne Tulk, who remarked:  “Believe me when I say that Mr. Glenn worked very hard every minute of everyday at being good.”

After a number of conversations with individuals who worked alongside Gould on the technical side of things (Lorne Tulk, Peter Shewchuk, Marianne Schroeder, and John McGreevy to name a few), I was fortunate enough to speak with a fellow musician, Dutch-born Canadian cellist, Coenraad Bloemendal, who worked with Gould on a number of occasions throughout the mid-1970s until Gould’s death in 1982.  A graduate of the Amsterdam Conservatory and Indiana University, where he studied with the legendary János Starker, Bloemendal came to Canada in 1971 where he quickly established himself as one of the country’s outstanding cellists.

Stories Untold: An Interview with The Idea of North Editor, Peter Shewchuk

By Penny Johnson, Contributing Author

Through my friendship with Lorne Tulk, former CBC technician and long-time friend of Glenn Gould, I had the opportunity recently to speak with Peter Shewchuk.  One of several editors who worked with Gould and Tulk on The Idea of North (1967) – the first of a three-part series of radio documentaries made for the CBC and known as The Solitude Trilogy – Shewchuk was responsible for editing the epilogue that occurs in the fiftieth minute, a segment combining the voice of the narrator, Wally Maclean, summing up the power and significance of the northern Canadian landscape, while pitted against the luscious harmonies of the finale from the fifth symphony of Jean Sibelius. 

While his time with Gould was short-lived, the memories and impact of collaborating with the genius has left an indelible mark on the mind of 70-year old Shewchuk.  “I felt quite privileged to work on the last bit of The Idea of North,” he says in a telephone interview from his home in Peterborough.  “When I heard it, my mouth just dropped, as I was in complete awe over the way Glenn integrated the voice of the narrator to the music.  His use of the voice was absolutely brilliant.” 

The Incredible Tulk: An Interview with Lorne Tulk

One of the many pleasures I have as a contributing author here at The Glenn Gould Foundation, involves the opportunity to interview various individuals who knew and/or worked closely with Glenn Gould.  Needless to say, October 31, 2008 proved to be a very memorable day, for not only did it happen to be my first Halloween in Toronto, but also – and more importantly – it was my first meeting with Lorne Tulk. Without doubt, Lorne is one of the kindest, most attentive and thoughtful individuals I have ever met. We began our day – in true Gouldian style – at a restaurant near St. Clair West & Bathurst Street here in Toronto, before migrating to Fran’s restaurant, a favourite of Glenn.  The following recollections on a life spent in collaboration with Glenn Gould, will surely offer a rare treat as to how Glenn came to be known by those closest to him.