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Variations on Glenn Gould’s 80th Birthday

Glenn Gould with Alberto Guerrero

Alumni of The Royal Conservatory have gone on to international acclaim and success in fields from medicine and sport to journalism, politics, and of course music. But no Conservatory alumnus has achieved as eminent and enigmatic a status as Glenn Gould. The Conservatory’s own internationally-recognized professional music training program, The Glenn Gould School, was renamed in 1997 to honour Canada’s legendary pianist.

Gould, who earned his ARCT at the tender age of 12, would have marked his 80th birthday on September 25, 2012. Though he is no longer with us, he is no less celebrated in Canada and across the world. Many people, organizations, and media outlets paid tribute to Gould’s genius, methods, and madness. Here are just a few for you to enjoy:

NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog took readers beyond Gould’s acclaimed interpretations of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

WQXR in New York polled its audience, asking whether Glenn Gould was a visionary or an eccentric.

CBC News reported on fans around the world celebrating Gould’s birthday, among them famed pianist Lang Lang.

Over at CBC Music, the question was asked: What if Glenn Gould had lived to be 80 years old?

CBC’s The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright ran a fantastic and detailed audio documentary on Glenn Gould and his legacy.

Was Glenn Gould a willfully idiotic genius, asks the The Guardian.

The Globe and Mail delved into the deeper meaning of Glenn Gould to classical music and Canada.

The New York Times considered Gould’s reinvention of Bach and redefinition of musical boundaries.

Australia’s Limelight Magazine listed the top ten Glenn Gould moments captured on film.

The San Francisco Weekly wondered whether Gould could have predicted the present-day media-music mashup.

Glenn Gould still fascinates three decades after his death, wrote The Vancouver Sun and The Montreal Gazette.

In The New Yorker, writer Richard Brody shared how Gould inspired him in so many different ways.

On a recent trip to Ottawa, Lang Lang took the opportunity to play Gould’s famed Steinway CD 318 Piano at the National Arts Centre.

Finally, The Royal Conservatory staged Glenn Gould’s Birthday BACHanalia, featuring interpretations of Gould’s favourite music on harp and harmonica, and even the ghost of Gould himself.

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