September 19, 2018
Today marks a festive milestone in the history of
The Glenn Gould Foundation - we’re turning 35!
Today, The Glenn Gould Foundation has much to celebrate!
Born of grief at the tragically early death of a musical icon and beloved friend and collaborator, the Foundation began as a heartfelt desire to celebrate and extend Glenn Gould’s legacy to future generations. Our founding directors were John Peter Lee Roberts (then head of CBC Radio Music and Variety), filmmaker John McGreevy (director of Glenn Gould’s Toronto), and Toronto lawyer and arts philanthropist, John Lawson, and they worked actively with Stephen Posen, Executor of the Estate of Glenn Gould to establish the Foundation as a dynamic organization.
The Foundation was originally given a broad mandate “to advance knowledge and appreciation of the arts generally and music in particular by performance and otherwise . . .[including] concerts, performances, commissions, publications or other projects, whether live or recorded . . . in Canada or elsewhere . . .” all in celebration, remembrance or in the spirit of Glenn Gould.
From these beginnings the Foundation quickly advanced towards the establishment of The Glenn Gould Prize, working initially with the Canada Council for the Arts. The first Glenn Gould Prize was presented to the brilliantly innovative composer R. Murray Schafer in 1987, to mark the 55th anniversary of Glenn’s birth.
Along the way from then until now, the Foundation has organized conferences, presented the 1985 International Bach Piano Competition, collaborated with many biographers, artists, scholars and partner institutions, commissioned artworks, published Glenn Gould magazine, organized concerts, supported gifted young musicians through concert presentations and occasionally with musical instruments, developed educational material in partnership with school boards, launched this website and social media feeds, and took part in or co-presented projects of all kinds in Canada, the United States, and in many other countries around the world. Last year, for Glenn’s 85th birthday, we even took our first step into space working with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA to get a video birthday greeting from the Commander of the International Space Station.
And of course, there’s The Glenn Gould Prize. The Prize has grown by leaps and bounds from its beginning as an award of $50,000 Cdn presented every three years to $100,000 every second year. The Prize celebrations have grown dramatically, too, from a single award ceremony presented to an audience of a few hundred, to as many as 20 events in a one-week period to a live audience of over 20,000 generating millions of “media impressions.” Our vision of the prize as a global award for artistic achievement is expressed by the words, “Celebration - Inspiration - Transformation,” encompassing the power of the Arts to motivate future generations with the examples of honoured masters and contribute to society with humanitarian arts-based initiatives. In our third Prize Cycle, we introduced the Glenn Gould Protégé Prize, an expression of the vital role of mentorship in the encouraging the artists of the future.
As we look to the future, we’re absolutely thrilled that our newest Laureate is the great Jessye Norman, one of the most inspiring and brilliant musical figures of the last half-century. We have lots of surprises ahead, so visit our website and social media feeds for great new content, and announcements of our Prize celebrations for Ms. Norman, as well as exciting future projects.
Glenn Gould was a visionary, an artist of the future. In his spirit, we’re delighted to say The Best is Yet to Come.
Brian M. Levine