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Robert Lepage (2013)

Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate

RLepage2-crdit Julie Perreault

Photo by Julie Perreault

Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, in collaboration with The Glenn Gould Foundation, hosted an evening in honour of Robert Lepage, laureate of the Tenth Glenn Gould Prize. The ceremony took place on Monday, March 31, 2014 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

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.

Robert Lepage selected L'orchestre d'hommes-orchestres as the recipient of the The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. Read more...

Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury

Bob Ezrin (Canada/USA)

Bob Ezrin

In an illustrious career as a music and entertainment producer that has spanned over 40 years, Toronto-born Royal Conservatory alumnus Bob Ezrin has worked in all genres and media with many of the world’s most important contemporary artists including: Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, U2, Peter Gabriel, Deep Purple, Lang Lang, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, K'naan,, Zucchero, The Canadian Tenors, Green Day, Elton John, Fefe Dobson, Lou Reed, Rod Stewart and many others.

He has produced numerous major events including the re-opening of the SuperDome after Katrina and Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden.  Among numerous film and TV projects, Ezrin produced the award winning film "Fade To Black" starring Jay-Z, Beyonce and a wide variety of urban artists.

Ezrin is also an innovator and entrepreneur having co-founded The Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver, B.C. in 2009; Beat Kangz Electronics, a hip hop musical instrument manufacturer in 2008; Enigma Digital, a seminal Internet broadcasting and social media company in 1999; 7th Level Inc (NASDAQ: SEVL) in 1992, the first PC based interactive entertainment company.

He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in April, 2004, and into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in March, 2006 and in 2013 has been named a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Ezrin is a governor of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, vice chairman of the The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, an advisory member of MusiCounts and, along with U2′s the Edge, a co-founder of Music Rising, an initiative to replace musical instruments lost in natural disasters. He is also a past trustee and governor of NARAS.

He lives in Nashville, TN and continues his work in music, film, tv and live and theatrical production.

Deepa Mehta (Canada)

deepa mehta

Deepa Mehta is a transnational, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director whose work is known for its honesty, beauty and universality.  Her award-winning films have played at every major film festival and have been distributed worldwide.  The daughter of a film distributor, Ms Mehta was born and educated in India before immigrating to Canada in 1973.

She is perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed Elemental Trilogy in which she addresses universal themes regarding human conflict. Fire (1996), about two love-deprived sisters-in-law who find solace in each other, was the first of the trilogy to elicit public protest. Encompassing lesbianism and challenging the power imbalance between husbands and wives in contemporary India, the film drew both ire and praise. It won numerous awards at festivals worldwide, although its release in India was highly controversial and caused theatre closings, censorship problems and outrage from Hindu fundamentalists. Earth (1998), which was nominated for three Gemini awards, is a love story set in1947, during India's partition from Pakistan. Based on Bapsi Sidwa's novel Cracking India, it depicts the division of both country and friendships during the largest forced migration in human history. The final installment of the trilogy, Water (2005), told the story of socially marginalized widows in conservative India. The film went through a series of delays as violent protesters issued death threats against the director and destroyed film sets in the holy city of Varanasi, where "widow houses" can still be found.

Click here to read the full biography.


John Ralston Saul (Canada)


An award-winning essayist and novelist, John Ralston Saul has had a growing impact on political and economic thought in many countries. Declared a “prophet” by TIME magazine, his fourteen works include his philosophical trilogy: Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense and The Unconscious Civilization. They have been translated into more than twenty languages in over thirty countries. He won widespread acclaim in 2005 for The Collapse of Globalism, which among other things foresaw the global financial crisis of 2008. He has received many national and international awards for his writing, such as Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal, South Korea’s Manhae Prize, and the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction Literature, for Unconscious Civilization. He serves as General Editor of Penguin Canada’s Extraordinary Canadians series of books, to which he also contributed a double biography of Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. A long-time champion of freedom of expression, he was re-elected to a second term as President of PEN International in October 2012. His latest book, Dark Diversions, is his fifth novel in English, and the first in twenty-four years.

Patti Smith (United States)


In 1975, rock and roll caught a glimpse of what lay ahead when Patti Smith—a bohemian New York poet and punk-rock artiste—released her debut album, Horses. Its inspired garage-band amateurism flew in the face of increasingly slick rock production values. Smith’s lyrics were street poetry that nodded toward Beat Generation and French symbolist poets, as well as literate rockers like Jim Morrison and Lou Reed.

Horses arrived at a time when rock and roll needed a jolt from its unadventurous rut and upwardly mobile arena-rock pretensions. John Cale’s arty, unretouched production gave the album the feeling of a raw musical chiaroscuro. The opening lines of the first track, “Gloria,” found Smith intoning a seeming heresy: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” Horses contained vivid, disturbing imagery that poured from Smith in impassioned torrents (“Land,” “Birdland”). The musicians proudly flaunted a garage-rock aesthetic, while Smith sang with the delirious release of an inspired amateur who knew her voice conveyed more honest passion than any note-perfect rock professional.

Click here to read the full biography. 

Sir David Tang (Hong Kong) KBE, Chevelier de I’Ordre des Arts et Lettres


In business, he was first involved with oil exploration off-shore China and gold mining in Africa and Australia.  He then founded the China Club in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, as well as Shanghai Tang, Island Tang and China Tang.  He has been for over 20 years the exclusive distributor of all Cuban cigars for Canada, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.  He also founded the internet company ICorrect in 2011.  He was director and advisor to international companies, including Blackstone, Tommy Hilfiger, the Savoy Group of Hotels, and British Airways.

In Hong Kong, he was Founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Cancer Fund and Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association.  He is also Patron to the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation and President of the Hong Kong Branches of Royal Commonwealth Society and Royal Geographical Society.

In London, he has been a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts for 16 years, and is chairman of the Asia- Pacific Acquisitions Committee at the Tate.  He is also adviser to the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, Director of the Glenn Gould Foundation and President of the London Bach Society.

Sir David is an avid collector of contemporary Chinese art and an enthusiast for chess, playing the piano and trying to complete the daily Times Cryptic Crossword.

Rolando Villazón (Mexico/France)


Through his uniquely compelling performances with leading opera houses and orchestras around the world, Rolando Villazón has firmly established himself as one of the music world’s most critically acclaimed and beloved stars and as one of the leading tenors of our day. The Times wrote of his second turn as Offenbach’s Hoffmann in London “he’s simply Villazón: with his trademark exuberance, ringing tenor, and frightening ability to act a part.” His recent portrayal of Massenet’s Werther was dubbed “nothing short of magnificent” and prompted The Guardian to write: “Villazón gives one of his most remarkable performances to date. His artistry is as astonishing as ever, fusing sound, sense and gesture in an uncompromising quest for veracity.”

Click here to read the full biography.

Paul 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.

Note: In January 2013, actor and director Alan Rickman had to withdraw from The Glenn Gould Prize Jury due to an unforeseen schedule conflict.  The international arts community also mourned the loss of Montreaux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs – slated to be on The Glenn Gould Prize jury – whose passing on January 10, 2013 resulted from an injury sustained in a skiing accident.  

The Tenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury was generously supported by

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