Robert Lepage - Innovative director, playwright and actor
Toronto, ON (February 21, 2013) – Innovative playwright, actor and director of theatre, opera, circus and film, Robert Lepage is the Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate. Mr. Lepage has won international critical acclaim and audience applause for his groundbreaking and influential works that fuse diverse media into cohesive stories that surprise, challenge and delight.
“I would like to congratulate our jury on an inspired selection,” said Brian Levine, Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation. “Robert Lepage is an artist whose dreams have expanded the realm of possibility and whose work transcends all boundaries. His work illuminates the human condition in that same spirit of innovation and idealism that motivated Glenn Gould. We feel his selection as Laureate marks a new milestone in the history of The Glenn Gould Prize and The Glenn Gould Foundation.”
“It is a good thing to celebrate excellence but I do think it is important to define what “excellence” is. For me, the excellence of an artist should not be measured only by his successes and achievements but also by his courage and capacity to constantly put himself in danger,” stated Robert Lepage. “Trial, error and at times even public humiliation are as much part of the process of defining one’s uniqueness. It means surviving both the highs of being ahead of the curve and the defeated feeling of trailing behind.”
“I am deeply honoured by this prestigious and generous accolade. As I know Glenn Gould did, I believe there is such a thing as a culture of the North and as I was walking to work this morning trying to fight my way through the heavy blizzard that had invaded my fair city, I could somewhat sense his presence in the howling wind and the vanishing footsteps I was clumsily following in the snow,” said Robert Lepage.
In reaching their decision, the jurors took special note of Mr. Lepage’s increasing influence in the theatre world, which has reinforced his willingness to take risks on stage to achieve results often thought to be unobtainable.
Mr. Lepage has directed productions at the Metropolitan Opera as well as for opera houses in Japan, France, England, Spain and Canada. His productions are mostly staged by his Quebec company Ex-Machina, and seen throughout the world, including Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour and Cirque du Soleil productions including TOTEM and Kà, which has played to more than six million people. Equally at home in an intimate setting, his one-person plays are always initiated and initially performed by Lepage himself, including The Andersen Project, which Lepage performed in more than ten countries.
Glenn Gould Prize Chair, Paul Hoffert notes, "Lepage is a rare contemporary artist who has continued to innovate and take risks while retaining his audiences. His influence in film, theatre and music is immense and global. Like Glenn Gould, he has transformed his field, drawn new audiences to classical music, and embraced technology in the service of his art.”
Robert Lepage was chosen from a distinguished list of international candidates nominated by the general public and will receive $50,000 (CAD) and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy. Mr. Lepage will choose an outstanding young artist to receive The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize of $15,000 (CAD), an individual who embodies the qualities of creative promise, innovation and career potential demonstrated by Gould in his youth. Mr. Lepage and his protégé will receive their awards at a gala ceremony in Toronto and their work will be honoured through a series of public events presented later in the year.
The Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury included legendary music and entertainment producer Bob Ezrin (Canada/USA), screenwriter and director Deepa Mehta (Canada); award-winning author and essayist John Ralston Saul (Canada) singer-songwriter, poet and artist Patti Smith (United States); entrepreneur, arts philanthropist and longtime advisor to the London Symphony Orchestra Sir David Tang (Hong Kong); and one of opera’s leading tenors Rolando Villazón (Mexico/France).
About Robert Lepage
Robert Lepage is renowned for his creative and original approach to theatre and opera, using new technologies to shake classical stage direction to its foundations. The Quebec-born artist began his career as an actor, author and director gaining international recognition early on with The Dragons’ Trilogy in 1985, quickly followed by Vinci, Polygraph and Tectonic Plates. In 1994 he founded Ex Machina, his multidisciplinary production company, and under his artistic direction, this new team produced a steady output of plays including The Seven Streams of the River Ota, Geometry of Miracles, The Far Side of The Moon, The Andersen Project and Lipsynch.
His operatic achievements include thrilling productions of the double-bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung, The Damnation of Faust, 1984, The Rake’s Progress, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Opera, The Nightingale and Other Short Fables with the Canadian Opera Company, and The Tempest. He has worked with leading opera producers in France, Spain and Japan.
About The Glenn Gould Prize
An international symbol of creative excellence, The Glenn Gould Prize – which has been referred to as “The Nobel Prize of the Arts” – is awarded biennially to a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts. A tribute to Glenn Gould’s artistry and his multifaceted contributions to culture, the prize promotes the vital connection between artistic excellence and the transformation of lives.
The Glenn Gould Foundation honours Glenn Gould’s spirit and legacy by celebrating brilliance, promoting creativity and transforming lives through the power of music and the arts with the Foundation’s signature activities, including The Glenn Gould Prize. Past laureates include Leonard Cohen (2011), Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008) founder of El Sistema, Pierre Boulez (2002), Yo-Yo Ma (1999), Oscar Peterson (1993) and Lord Yehudi Menuhin (1990).
For more information on the foundation, prize and jurors visit www.glenngould.ca .
Karen Lorenowicz, KL Strategic Communications
Photo of Robert Lepage by Julie Perreault.