From Celebration to Inspiration to Transformation
The Glenn Gould Prize is awarded to an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts. The Glenn Gould Prize promotes the vital connection between artistic excellence and the transformation of lives. Each Glenn Gould Prize Laureate also chooses an outstanding young artist to receive The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.
The life’s work of a Glenn Gould Prize Laureate embodies this connection. Second Prize Laureate Lord Yehudi Menuhin (Great Britain) was a beloved violinist and conductor who also founded a school to nurture the talents of gifted children. Third Prize Laureate Oscar Peterson (Canada) made exceptional contributions to music and humanity as an unparalleled jazz pianist with a deep commitment to universal freedom, civil rights and mentoring youth. Sixth Prize Laureate Yo-Yo Ma (USA) is one of the most revered cellists of the modern age and founded the Silk Road Ensemble, an arts and educational organization that engages artists and audiences around the world in multicultural exchange. Learn more about our Laureates below.
History and Facts
The Glenn Gould Prize was created as a tribute to Glenn Gould’s artistry and his multifaceted contributions to culture. The Glenn Gould Foundation—an international cultural institution that celebrates Gould’s spirit and legacy—gathers The Glenn Gould Prize Jury, oversees the nominations process and presents the award celebrations as its signature activities. Prize Laureates receive a C$100 000 (originally $50 000) award and The Glenn Gould Prize sculpture by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.
The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize winners receive C$15 000 and The Glenn Gould Award. A permanent collection of official Prize Laureate portraits is on display at The Glenn Gould Studio (Canadian Broadcasting Centre Studios) in Toronto.
Past Glenn Gould Prize Jurors include winners of the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Olivier Award, Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters, the Grammy and the Juno. Beginning with the Ninth Prize (2011), The Glenn Gould Prize is now given every second year.
The Glenn Gould Prize Nominations
The Glenn Gould Foundation invited the public to nominate an outstanding individual to become the Laureate of the Twelfth Glenn Gould Prize. Members of the public from any country were eligible to submit a nomination. Jessye Norman was selected as the Laureate by a jury in April 2018.
An international symbol of creative excellence, the Glenn Gould Prize is awarded to an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts.
The Glenn Gould Prize honours a leading figure in the Arts fields, as related to the theme of music and communication, for a lifetime of extraordinary creative achievement and innovation. Disciplines include but are not limited to
Musical creation or performance
Technology, Design and Innovation
Film & Television
Radio & Broadcasting (including web-based)
Architecture & Design
Living candidates of any nationality are eligible. Nominations are submitted via an online form.
The Glenn Gould Foundation will present the Prize to Philip Glass at a Gala Awards Ceremony and special celebrations planned for 2015. As of this year, the will now winner receive $100,000 CDN (previously $50k) and The Glenn Gould Prize Sculpture. At the Gala, the Laureate will present The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize to an outstanding young person of his/her choice who embodies the qualities of creative promise, innovation and career potential demonstrated by Glenn Gould in his youth.
Living candidates of any nationality are eligible for the Glenn Gould Prize. Nominations are submitted via an online form. Neither self-nominations nor nominations submitted by email are accepted.
The Glenn Gould Prize Jury
An international Jury of distinguished musicians, journalists, arts patrons and music aficionados meet in Toronto, Canada to select the Prize Laureate. Past Jurors include winners of the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Olivier Award, Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters, the Grammy and the Juno. Visit each Prize Laureate's page to view the Prize Jury members.
The Glenn Gould Prize Sculpture
Beginning in 1999, each Laureate and Protégé also receive The Glenn Gould Prize Sculpture, a miniature bronze sculpture of Glenn Gould created by Ontario artist, Ruth Abernethy.
Ruth Abernethy also created the bronze Glenn Gould bench outside of CBC Studios in Toronto and the Oscar Peterson bronze statue outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
The Glenn Gould Prize Fund
The Glenn Gould Prize Fund was established by The Glenn Gould Foundation and launched by a cornerstone contribution from the late Floyd S. Chalmers, C.C. The proceeds of the 1985 International Bach Competition, held in Toronto were added to the Prize fund.
Other contributors include the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and a number of individuals and foundations. The fund was managed by The Canada Council for the Arts until 2000. Since then, The Glenn Gould Foundation has since administered the Prize fund.
The Celebration of Music Week (2009)
In October 2009, an historic series of events in Toronto began with the Prize gala concert featuring the greatest symbol of Dr. Abreu’s work: Gustavo Dudamel and the Símon Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela in their Canadian debut. The Celebration of Music week reached an audience of over 20,000 students and youth, parents, educators, arts aficionados, journalists and policy-makers experiencing El Sistema firsthand through specially designed events.
Highlights included $150 000 worth of instruments donated to children in Venezuela; 14 intimate concerts at high schools and community youth centres featuring the Venezuelan chamber ensembles; The Promise of Music International Symposium on Music Education at The Royal Conservatory; Dr. Abreu’s first speeches in Canada; and an electrifying conclusion of events at a stadium concert for over 12,000 students from across the province of Ontario. The selection of Dr. Abreu as Laureate expresses the values of innovation, inspiration and transformation embodied by The Glenn Gould Prize.
The Glenn Gould Prize Objets d'art
From 1987 to 2002, The Glenn Gould Prize was accompanied by a work of art, created by a prominent Canadian artist commissioned by The Glenn Gould Foundation. Some works of art are on public display at The Glenn Gould Studio (Canadian Broadcasting Centre Studios) in Toronto.
2002 – A ceramic work, Imari Vase with Bouquet of Red Roses, created by Léopold L. Foulem of Caraquet, New Brunswick in honour of Pierre Boulez
1999 – Light Vibrations, a mixed media sculpture, created by Catherine Widgery of Montreal, Quebec in honour of Yo-Yo Ma
1996 – A Musical Box made of different raw materials such as hemp, bone, wood, metal, skin and stone, created by Gordon Peteran of Toronto, Ontario in honour of Toru Takemitsu
1993 – A mahogany and ebony box containing the original score for Magic Songs by R. Murray Schafer, created by Robert Diemert of Dundas, Ontario in honour of Oscar Peterson, C.C.
1990 – A silver and gold cloisonné enameled plaque created by Faye Rooke of Burlington, Ontario in honour of Lord Menuhin
1987 – A silver rose bowl with stone and wood inlays created by Donald Stuart of Barrie, Ontario in honour of R. Murray Schafer