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Leonard Cohen (2011)

Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate


Photo by John Reeves

Singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen is The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate.

“I want to thank The Glenn Gould Foundation for their kindness. It is a great honour, sweetened by my love of the work of Glenn Gould, and our collective appreciation of his invigorating and enduring presence in the world of Music and Imagination,” stated Cohen.

For four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, relentlessly examining the central issues in human experience, and reporting with passion, insight and wisdom. His body of work is a reflection of the zeitgeist of the late 20th century and beyond. His songs are works of great poetic depth and profound emotional force, and set new standards for quality, range and seriousness in pop music. Artists and music-lovers alike are drawn to the dignity, ambition and sheer power of his songs.


An accomplished literary figure before he began recording music in the late 1960s, his collections of poetry, including Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) and Flowers for Hitler, and his novels including The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966), had already brought him considerable recognition. His dual careers in music and literature have continued feeding each other over the decades – his songs revealing a literary richness rare in the world of popular music, and his poetry and prose informed by an intense musicality. Collectively, Cohen has published 12 books including Book of Longing (2006), a collection of prose, poetry and drawings which was the first book of poetry to reach the top of Canada’s bestsellers’ lists, and which formed the basis of a memorable musical and theatre collaboration with composer Philip Glass which premiered at Toronto’s Luminato festival.

Leonard Cohen is one of the most covered artists alive today, influencing generations of songwriters, and his music has earned the accolades of other artists in tribute albums in France, Norway, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, South Africa, and the United States. “Hallelujah”, one of Cohen’s best-known and best-loved songs has been covered by over 150 artists including Willie Nelson and Bono. Numerous documentaries, awards, and tribute albums acknowledge the far-reaching contribution Cohen has made to music. He continues to refine and deepen his art, and as a musician he is constantly exploring new territory.

Listen to Leonard Cohen's acceptance speech at the Gala Concert


Leonard Cohen selected The Children of System Toronto as the recipient of the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.  Read more...

Robert Harris on Glenn Gould and Leonard Cohen. This article appeared in the Gala Concert programme.


The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Video

Narrated by Stephen Fry for The Glenn Gould Foundation. Copyright 2012.

The Children of Sistema Toronto sing Hallelujah

Video Presentation featured at the Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert.

Video by Donald Gislason and Bowen Staines.



The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Jury


Photo by Eric Overton

The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Jury convened March 31 - April 1, 2011 in Toronto to select the Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate, Leonard Cohen. Jurors also participated in other celebratory events with the public and the Foundation's Council of Fellows members.

The Prize Committee devoted much care and consideration to selecting a panel of outstanding artists who bring a broad and multi-disciplinary range of perspectives to their deliberations. The the combined wisdom and experience of these remarkable world citizens ensured that the tradition of The Glenn Gould Prize is not only honoured, but also extended to the next level.

Dadawa headshot jpegDadawa (China)

In 1995, Zhu Zheqin fused the Tibetan word for moon (Dawa) with surrealist-Dadaism (Dada) to create a new name, “Dadawa” as her international moniker. Her influence as well as the warm reception of Dadawa’s music by World Music fans is evidence of her artistic ideal come true: music without borders.

Known in the west as Dadawa and as Zhu Zheqin to hundreds of millions of Chinese fans, she has been called Asia’s Enya for her soaring voice, as Asia’s Bjork for her cutting edge artistry and Asia’s Ry Cooder for her exploration of world musical culture. As a singer and producer, she is the first contemporary Chinese diva to achieve worldwide stardom. She is a native of Changsha, Hunan and has travelled China and the world extensively as both a musician and adventurer. She is considered to be the pioneer “indie” artist in China, having independently produced her music, videos and films for over a decade.

Dadawa holds record breaking musical achievements beginning with the worldwide success of her album Sister Drum and her recent award winning, Seven Days. She is also seen by hundreds of millions of viewers as host of the acclaimed Chinese documentary TV series, “Passenger of Africa.”

As a music scholar, Dadawa has delved into the origins of Buddhist chants and was recently a visiting scholar at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Coloumbia.

Whether performing at Carnegie Hall with The Chieftains or in her native China with Jesse Cook, Dadawa is an artist who crosses boundaries, both artistic and geographic. In 2007, the major Chinese language web portal hailed her as, “The Most Influential Woman in Chinese Music.” In 2010, Dadawa was awarded the Chinese Culture Promoter Award and became the UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador in 2009.

Small AE_Credit Sophie Giraud Adoration Productions

Photo by Sophie Giraud, Adoration Productions

Atom Egoyan (Canada)
O.C., B.A., D.Litt. (hon.), L.L.D. (hon.). R.C.A.

With fourteen feature films and related projects, Atom Egoyan has won numerous awards including five prizes at the Cannes Film Festival (including the Grand Prix, International Critics Awards and Ecumenical Jury Prizes), two Academy Award® nominations, eight Genie Awards, prizes from the National Board of Review and an award for Best International Adaptation at The Frankfurt Book Fair. In 2010, he had a full retrospective of his films at the Filmoteca Espagnol in Madrid, following similar events in previous years at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and The Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Egoyan won the 2010 Douglas Sirk Award from the Hamburg Film Festival, joining other career honours from festivals and events in Tokyo, Jerusalem, Reykjavik, Las Palmas, Hong Kong, Cairo and The Panorama of European Cinema in Athens.

Egoyan has been President of the Jury in Cannes (Cinéfondation and Shorts), Berlin (Main Competition) and Venice (First Feature), as well as a jury member at several other festivals, including Sundance and Toronto.
Egoyan’s art projects have been presented around the world including The Venice Biennale and Artangel in London. His acclaimed production of Wagner’s Die Walkurie won a Dora Award for Outstanding Opera Production, and his adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s Eh Joe was presented by The Gate Theatre in Dublin, where it won The Irish Times/ESB Award for Best Direction before transferring to London’s West End and The Lincoln Center Festival in New York.

Atom Egoyan’s installation, 8 ½ Screens, was commissioned by The Toronto International Film Festival for the opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox in September, 2010.

Egoyan will direct the North American premiere of Martin Crimp’s Cruel and Tender for the Canadian Stage theatre company in early 2012.

small Fry_credit Claire Newman Williams

Photo by Claire Newman Williams

Stephen Fry (United Kingdom)

Stephen Fry was born in 1957 and educated at an unfeasibly large number of educational establishments, most of which rapidly tired of him. At Cambridge University however, he met and worked with, among others, Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie, a life long friend and comedy partner. Fry’s first play Latin! received a Scotsman fringe first award and has subsequently been performed around the country. The Footlights revue he wrote and performed with Thompson, Laurie and Tony Slattery won the first ever Perrier Award and was televised by the BBC. There followed Alfresco, a comedy series for Granada (along with Laurie, Thompson, Ben Elton and Robbie Coltrane) three series of Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson (and Hugh Laurie again), four series of A Bit of Fry and Laurie with Hugh Laurie (both for the BBC) and also with Hugh, four series of Jeeves and Wooster for Granada TV and WGBH Boston.

He hosts the BBC quiz show QI (5 series), has completed two series of Absolute Power with John Bird for the BBC and appeared in numerous single dramas for television, including Tom Brown’s Schoolboys and most recently the series Kingdom for ITV. He has also presented the documentaries The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, HIV and Me and The Machine That Made Us all for the BBC. Stephen’s documentary series, Stephen Fry in America, a journey through all 50 American states, aired in the UK in 2008 and was shown in the US on PBS stations in November 2009. The accompanying Harper Collins book, Stephen Fry in America, was recently released in the US. His latest documentary series, Last Chance to See, was filmed in remote parts of the world and revisits endangered species that Douglas Adams first reported on 15 years ago.

As a stage actor he performed in Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On, Michael Frayn’s Look, Look, Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit and Cell Mates (a run cut inexplicably short). He won a Drama Circle award and a Tony Nomination for his work on the revived musical Me and My Girl which ran for years and years on Broadway and in the West End.

His numerous film appearances have included award-winning performances in Peter’s Friends, Wilde, Gosford Park, V for Vendetta and most recently Eichmann. He wrote and directed Bright Young Things in 2003.

He has written four best-selling novels, an autobiographical series starting with Moab is My Washpot, and more recently, The Fry Chronicles, a book on poetry form, The Ode Less Travelled, and is well-known among a younger generation as the reader of the audiobook versions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. In 2010 Wagner and Me, an award winning feature length documentary aired, which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Stephen explores his passion for the music of Wagner and questions whether he can salvage the music he loves from its associations with anti- semitism and Hitler.

These days Stephen has finished filming the part of Mycroft in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes 2 with Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law, and has just completed a major new series for the BBC about language and communication called Planet Word.

GaryGrafman1 c Carol Rosegg small

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Gary Graffman (United States)

Gary Graffman has been a major figure in the music world since his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eighteen. For the next three decades he toured almost constantly, playing the most demanding works in the piano literature. His numerous recordings with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland and Chicago under such conductors as Bernstein, Ormandy, Szell and Mehta include concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven; they are still regarded as touchtones.

In 1979, however, an injury to his right hand limited Mr. Graffman’s concertizing to the small body of music written for the left hand alone, and he joined the faculty of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. In 1986—exactly fifty years after entering Curtis as a seven-year-old student, Mr. Graffman was appointed director of that renowned all-scholarship conservatory, also serving as its president from 1995 to 2006. Now retired from administrative duties, Mr. Graffman remains on the Curtis faculty while continuing his active concert career as a one-handed pianist.

In addition to major left-hand concertos by Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten, Strauss and Korngold, Mr. Graffman’s current repertoire includes six new concertos and one chamber music work commissioned for him as well as complete recitals for the left hand alone.



Greenberg Headshot_smallPhoebe Greenberg (Canada)
Phoebe Greenberg’s career, both as an artist and a business professional, has been dedicated to culture. Her roots are in the theatre: she is a graduate from L’école internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq. After many years abroad, she returned to Montreal in 1990 to found Diving Horse Creations, a theatre company dedicated to the theatre of the bouffon and theatre of the absurd. Dealing essentially with the social dimension of human relations, the company produced plays by Eugene Ionesco, Michel de Ghelderode, and Daniil Harms.

In the fall of 2007, DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art opened its doors in Montreal with an exhibition by the British artist Marc Quinn. Phoebe devotes much of her time to bringing some of the most compelling art of our time to DHC/ART, including the work of Sophie Calle, Nancy Davenport, Michal Rovner, Jenny Holzer, Christian Marclay and David Altmejd. Her company PHI, a spin-off from the original theatre company, has become a laboratory for cultural research in the fields of music, film, new media, and architecture, and employs thirty artists and thinkers. Phoebe is founder and director of both DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art and PHI Group.

Next Floor, a short film conceptualized and produced by Phoebe Greenberg and directed by Denis Villeneuve, has been screened in over 150 festivals worldwide. Phoebe will be bringing her bold aesthetic and visual artistry to the forefront again as Producer of the short film Hope (estimated 2011 release), and Executive Producer of Kivalina, a documentary exploring the effects of global warming (estimated release in 2011).

Phoebe is also Associate Producer on Denis Villeneuve’s 2011 Academy Award® nominated feature film Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Her next bold artistic venture is the creation of the PHI Centre, a new multidisciplinary arts centre that will be located in Old Montreal (due to open its doors in 2011).

Elaine_Overholt-703339Elaine Overholt (Canada)

Elaine Overholt has established herself as one of North America’s most respected and treasured singers, voice coaches and vocal producers. Her diverse musical training in classical piano, classical voice, gospel, theatre, and rock music led her to a deep understanding of all styles of singing.

An extensive performing career has allowed her the opportunity to work with titans of music; Ray Charles, Tina Turner, opera star Richard Margison, Dionne Warwick, Anne Murray and Chubby Checker amongst them. Ms. Overholt has performed as a soloist on world stages, major network television, albums, films, thousands of jingles and has recorded two albums with a number three single on Billboard.

Elaine’s gift for teaching is well known in Hollywood and Broadway, having coached stars such as John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer for ‘Hairspray’ the movie as well as music directing its star Nikki Blonksy in concert performances throughout North America. She was also thrilled to coach Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Queen Latifah for the Oscar-winning ‘Chicago’. Her teaching Ellen Degeneres to sing in a live segment on her hit talk show ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show’ has created a huge YouTube phenomenon. As a Broadway coach Elaine trained the singers in the lead roles of Broadway hits ‘Hairspray‘, ‘The Producers’ and ‘Mamma Mia’. Also, record labels such as Universal, Capitol/EMI, Sony/BMG and Virgin send their recording artists to Ms. Overholt where they learn to protect their voices and develop stamina and style.

Elaine Overholt’s passionate ambition to understand the human voice led Richard Gere to write that she is “... a patient, passionate and truly inspired teacher...” and John Travolta to say “...Elaine helped give my voice new life...” Whether it is onstage, in the studio or on the road, Elaine drives her students to connect with the unique and powerful voice that is in every one of us - our ‘Big Voice’.

In fact, Elaine is the host of a compelling new TV series entitled “BIG VOICE”. The show inspirationally connects Elaine to a group of closet singers ready to discover the true potential of their vocal abilities, culminating in a spectacular finale where they live their dream on stage.
Costa PilavachiCosta Pilavachi (United Kingdom/Greece/Canada)
Costa Pilavachi started his career in music managing the classical department of a downtown Ottawa record store while still at university.

In 1975 he moved to Toronto and in 1976 joined David Haber Artists Management, then Canada's leading performing arts management.
 From 1979-1981 he ran Canada's premiere recital and chamber music series at Toronto's St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Pilavachi then returned to Ottawa to assume the directorship of the Music Department of the National Arts Centre, managing the resident orchestra, the summer international opera festival and various concert and educational series until 1985.

This led to a four year stint as Artistic Administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival under Music Director Seiji Ozawa.
 In 1989 he was recruited by the Dutch-based multinational PolyGram and served as Vice-President, Artists and Repertoire of the Philips Classics label and moved to Amsterdam. In 1997 he became the label's President.

Two years later PolyGram changed hands and became the Universal Music Group. Pilavachi was transferred to London where he merged the Philips label with the storied British label Decca and became President of the combined entity, now called Decca Music Group. 
As head of these two labels, Pilavachi had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest artists of our time, including Alfred Brendel, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Jessye Norman, Mitsuko Uchida,Valery Gergiev, Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and many more. Among the many artists he signed to these labels are Gergiev, tenors Juan Diego Florez and Joseph Calleja, violinist Janine Jansen, pianist Nelson Freire and the phenomenally successful "crossover" tenor Andrea Bocelli.

In 2006 Pilavachi left Universal and became President of EMI's classical division during an especially turbulent time for this renowned British firm. He left in 2009 and in 2010 returned to Universal in a newly-created corporate role as Senior Vice-President Classical Artist and Repertoire, overseeing the artistic direction of the Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels worldwide.

Pilavachi is also adviser to Seiji Ozawa and his Japan-based Saito Kinen Festival.

PaulHoffertPaul Hoffert CM, Prize Chair (Canada)
Paul Hoffert is Chair of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Fine Arts Professor at York University, and Chair of the Guild of Canadian Film Composers. He is former President of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Faculty Fellow at Harvard University Law School, and Chair of the Ontario Arts Council.

By the time he was twenty-six, Mr. Hoffert was an established jazz recording artist, television performer, off-Broadway musical author, film composer, and had studied mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto. That year (1969) he co-founded Lighthouse, a rock band with horns and strings that sold millions of records, toured the world and earned three Juno Awards as Canada’s # 1 pop band (1971-1973). He was inducted into the Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Hoffert has parallel achievements in science and technology. He was a researcher at the National Research Council of Canada in the early 1970s. In 1992, he founded CulTech Research Centre at York University, where he developed advanced new media such as video telephones and networked distribution of CD-ROMs. From 1994 to 1999, he directed Intercom Ontario, a $100 million trial of the world's first broadband-connected community that landed him on the cover of the Financial Post and in the Wall Street Journal

He has authored best-selling books: “The New Client”, "All Together Now", and "The Bagel Effect" and a recent textbook on composing music for videogames.

In 2001, Hoffert received the Pixel award as the new media industry’s “Visionary of the Year” and in 2005 he received the Order of Canada.

The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize Jury was presented in partnership with The Hazelton Hotel and with the generosity of the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program and Korean Air.