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Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008)

Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate

Abreu Laureate Photo 4x6

Photo by John Reeves

Dr. José Antonio Abreu, the promoter, builder and founder of the National System of Young Peoples’, Children’s and Pre-school orchestras of Venezuela has been recognized internationally as a visionary. Born on May 7th, 1939 in Valera, Venezuela, he showed musical and artistic sensibilities from an early age and began studying music while he was very young. A brilliant career as a planner and economist followed, with many prominent appointments and positions. He founded the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and became its permanent conductor. Since then, he has devoted his life to Venezuela’s musical young people. Today, the results of his tireless labor can be seen around the world, where the Venezuelan model of musical education has been adapted in over 20 countries. Maestro Abreu has been recognized world-wide for his outstanding work and is the recipient of many prestigious international awards.

Listen to Dr. Abreu's acceptance speech from the Celebration of Music week (2009)


Dr. Abreu selected Gustavo Dudamel as the recipient of the The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.  Read more...


Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Jury

Ben Heppner (Canada)
Ben Heppner is recognized worldwide as the finest dramatic tenor before the public today excelling in the most challenging roles and acclaimed for his beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship and sparkling dramatic sense. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire. Mr. Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia, where he first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Company Talent Festival. He is a 1988 winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and is both a Grammy Award winner and a Juno Award recipient, and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Hélène Mercier (Canada/France)
Hélène Mercier began her piano studies at the age of six in Montreal, and quickly won recognition for her skill and talent. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards and has performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Hélène Mercier is a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.

Anthony Minghella (United Kingdom)
Anthony Minghella was an Academy Award-winning British film director, playwright and screenwriter, best known for his film adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (1996), which won more than 30 international awards. Working in television, script editing, writing, and as playwright, he won the recognition of his peers with many prestgious awards, and held Honorary Doctorates from the University of Hull (1998) the University of Southampton (2000) and the University of Bournemouth (2001). Mr. Minghella was appointed a CBE in 2001.

Janice Price (Canada)
Janice Price brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the performing arts arena to her newly appointed position of CEO for Luminato. She has held a number of senior positions in the arts in Canada and the United States. Ms. Price is a past board member of the Toronto Dance Theatre and Vice President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America and continues to participate in the arts community as a member of the board for the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA).

Peter Schickele (USA)
Composer, musician, author, satirist—Peter Schickele is internationally recognized as one of the most versatile artists in the field of music.His works, now well in excess of 100 for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, voice, movies and television, have given him “a leading role in the ever-more-prominent school of American composers who unselfconsciously blend all levels of American music.” (John Rockwell, The New York Times).

Paul Hoffert, Chair of the Jury (Canada)
Dr. Paul Hoffert is Chair of the Glenn Gould Foundation (US), Chair of the Bell Fund, Chair of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and Fine Arts Professor at York University. He is former Chair of the Ontario Arts Council, Faculty Fellow at Harvard Law School, President of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and a Director of the United Nations World Summit on Information Societies. An established jazz recording artist, television performer, off-Broadway musical author, and film composer, he has parallel achievements in science and technology and is author of several best-selling books about the Info Age. He remains an active jazz pianist and tours with his Juno Award-winning band Lighthouse. He was awarded the Order of Canada for his contributions to music and media.

The Glenn Gould Prize Celebration of Music Week
Click here to read news postings and articles about the spectacular Celebration of Music week in October 2009, honouring Dr. Abreu.

Click here to view the galleries.

Click here for fact sheets in the Media Resources.

Souvenir Gala Concert programs are available for $10 CDN for shipping in Canada. Email for your copy or international inquiries.

Study Guide to El Sistema
Download the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra Study Guide

The Glenn Gould Foundation thanks our generous sponsors without whose support The Glenn Gould Prize Celebration of Music would not have been possible.