Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

ARCHIVED - The Glenn Gould Archive

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Glenn Gould


Glenn Gould, (1932-1982)

The following chronology outlines and briefly describes the highlights of Glenn Gould's career.


Glenn Herbert Gould is born in Toronto, on September 25, to Florence Gould (née Greig) and Russell Herbert (Bert) Gould.


Florence Gould gives her son his first piano lessons, and continues to teach him over the next several years.


On June 5, he performs on the piano in public for the first time, appearing with his parents at the Uxbridge United Church for the 30th anniversary of the Business Men's Bible Class.


In February, Gould takes his first examination at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (TCM), achieving first class honours in grade 3 piano. He begins his studies at the TCM with Leo Smith, who is Gould's theory teacher until 1947.


He begins organ lessons with Frederick C. Silvester, who is his teacher until 1949.


He begins studying piano with Alberto Guerrero, with whom he works until 1952.


The First Annual Kiwanis Music Festival is held in February in Toronto. Gould enters and wins first prize in the piano trophy competition.


On March 10, Gould takes part in his first radio broadcast on the program Kiwanis Festival Winners aired by station CFRB. He wins the Gordon V. Thompson scholarship at the Kiwanis Music Festival. He passes his piano examination for the TCM Associateship in June. In September, he enters Malvern Collegiate Institute, Toronto. On December 12, he gives his first public performance on the organ at the Young Canadian Organists concert, sponsored by the Casavant Society of Toronto and held in Eaton Auditorium.


On May 8, Gould makes his orchestral debut with the Toronto Conservatory Symphony Orchestra at Massey Hall as part of the Toronto Conservatory of Music Annual Closing Concert. On October 28, he receives the TCM Associate Diploma at the Toronto Conservatory of Music graduation exercises at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto.


Gould makes his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Secondary School Concert on January 14, in Massey Hall, Toronto. On October 20, he gives his first public solo recital at the International Artists concert, held in Eaton Auditorium, Toronto.


Gould creates his first major composition, a Piano Sonata.


He composes his Sonata for Bassoon and Piano. On November 26, he gives his first major concert outside his home city – the Sunday Nine O'Clock recital at the University of Western Ontario in London. He makes his radio recital debut on the CBC network on December 24.


Gould tours western Canada, performing at a concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (his debut with this orchestra) on October 28. He also gives a recital for the Calgary Women's Musical Club at the Central United Church, Calgary, on November 7.


Gould makes his debut on CBC-TV, the first pianist to be televised in performance in Canada, on September 8. On November 6, he gives his recital debut in Montréal at the Ritz-Carlton for the Ladies' Morning Musical Club.


Gould makes his first commercial recording (Hallmark: RS3). His first concert appearance at the Stratford Festival takes place on July 31 in the Festival Theatre. His first recital in eastern Canada is given in the Saint John High School Auditorium in Saint John, New Brunswick, on November 23.


His debut concert appearance with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra takes place at Plateau Hall, Montréal, on December 14.


On January 2, Gould gives his debut recital in the United States at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, D.C., followed by his New York debut recital in Town Hall on January 11. The following day, he signs an exclusive recording contract with Columbia. During this year, he finishes composing his String Quartet, Op. 1.


In January, Columbia releases Gould's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (placed in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1983). On January 12, he makes his debut appearance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Auditorium Concert Hall. His debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra takes place on March 15 at the Masonic Temple Auditorium. He goes on tour in Canada and the United States in the fall. The tour is organized by the Community Concerts Association, one of the most important touring agencies in North America at that time. On December 29, he begins a long professional association with Vladimir Golschmann, making his debut appearance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Golschmann.


Gould makes his debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, New York, Leonard Bernstein conducting, on January 26. His debut with the Cleveland Orchestra takes place on March 28. On May 3, he begins his first European tour, and, on May 7, gives his first concert recital in the Soviet Union in the Moscow State Conservatory. He performs for the first time with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in West Berlin on May 28.


On August 25, Gould performs in the Canada Day concert with the Hart House Orchestra at the Brussels World Fair in Belgium. From August until December he tours Austria, Sweden, West Germany, Italy and Israel.


In February, Gould receives the Harriet Cohen Bach medal. Between May 20 and June 1, he gives five concerts in Great Britain, a cycle of Beethoven concertos, as part of the Beethoven Festival held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, performing with the London Symphony Orchestra. On August 31, he gives his last public performance in Europe at the Lucerne Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, performing with the Philharmonia Orchestra.


Gould makes his first appearance on U.S. television with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Leonard Bernstein on an NBC-CBS broadcast on January 31. Also during this year, the two documentary films Glenn Gould: On the Record and Glenn Gould: Off the Record (made in 1959) are released by the National Film Board of Canada. Gould discovers the Steinway piano No. CD318 at Eaton Auditorium in Toronto and begins to rent it as his preferred instrument for performing and recording.


He becomes one of the directors of music at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, along with Leonard Rose and Oscar Shumsky.


Gould continues his association with CBC radio and television by giving several broadcasts, including Arnold Schoenberg: The Man Who Changed Music (August 8, radio) and Richard Strauss: A Personal View (October 15, TV).


On March 4, CBC-TV broadcasts Gould's documentary The Anatomy of the Fugue, for which Gould composes So You Want to Write a Fugue. In this year, he gives a series of lectures: the Corbett Music Lecture, Arnold Schoenberg: A Perspective, at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 22; and, in July, the MacMillan Lectures at the University of Toronto.


On January 31 and March 4, Gould gives a two-part talk, The History of the Piano Sonata, at Hunter College in New York, which he repeats at the Gardner Museum in Boston on February 2 and March 8. On April 10, he gives a recital at Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles – his last live public performance. On June 1, he receives a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, from the University of Toronto, and delivers the convocation address, An Argument for Music in the Electronic Age. On November 11, he delivers the address Advice to a Graduation for the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto.


On January 10, Gould gives a CBC broadcast, The Prospects of Recording.


Gould gives a series of television broadcasts featuring conversations with Humphrey Burton for BBC-2, aired on March 15, March 22, April 5 and April 19. With Yehudi Menuhin, he performs works by Bach, Beethoven and Schoenberg for a CBC-TV broadcast on May 18. On November 13, there is the first of a series of CBC radio broadcasts entitled The Art of Glenn Gould, the last of the programs being aired on April 30, 1967. The CBC broadcasts his documentary The Psychology of Improvisation on November 23 on the program "Ideas".


The performer-manager relationship between Glenn Gould and Walter Homburger ends. The Idea of North, the first of a trilogy dealing with solitude, is broadcast on the CBC on December 28 as part of Canada's Centennial Year celebrations. The documentary is also Gould's first involving contrapuntal radio.


Broadcast on the CBC, from May 18 to October 5, is the second series of programs entitled The Art of Glenn Gould. On September 9, Gould receives the Canada Council's Molson Prize. The CBC broadcasts a radio documentary on Newfoundland for Ideas on November 12. Entitled The Latecomers, this is the second in the trilogy dealing with solitude.


Among the broadcasts by Gould aired by CBC-TV in this year are The Well -Tempered Listener (February 18) and the film version of The Idea of North (August 5).


On February 2, Stokowski: A Portrait for Radio by Gould is broadcast on the CBC.


Gould creates musical arrangements for the film Slaughterhouse-Five distributed by Universal Pictures.


Gould purchases CD318 on February 14.


Gould creates a series of four ORTF films entitled Les chemins de la musique. His The Age of Ecstasy: Music from 1900 to 1910, the first of a four-part series, is broadcast on CBC-TV on February 20. His CBC broadcasts include Casals: A Portrait for Radio on January 15 and Schoenberg: The First Hundred Years – A Documentary Fantasy on November 19. He prepares a series of ten programs for the CBC entitled Music of Today: Schoenberg Series, which is broadcast between September 11 and November 13.


CBC-TV broadcasts Gould's The Flight from Order: Music from 1910 to 1920 on February 5 and New Faces, Old Forms: Music from 1920 to 1930 on November 26.


Gould receives the Diplôme d'honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts on April 29.


Gould's documentary The Quiet in the Land, the third of the "solitude" trilogy, is aired on the CBC on the program Ideas on March 25. He hosts Arts National for the CBC during the week of August 22-26. His documentary The Artist as Artisan: Music from 1930 to 1940 appears on CBC-TV on December 14.


Geoffrey Payzant's book Glenn Gould: Music and Mind, approved by Gould, is published in the spring by Van Nostrand Reinhold.


On April 2 and 9, the CBC broadcasts Strauss: The Bourgeois Hero. Glenn Gould's Toronto (part of the series "Cities") appears on CBC-TV on September 27 and the program receives two ACTRA awards and one GENIE award in 1980. Glenn Gould Plays Bach, No. 1: The Question of Instrument, a CLASART film, is released.


A CLASART film, Glenn Gould Plays Bach, No. 2: An Art of the Fugue, is released. CBS issues a two-record set entitled Glenn Gould Silver Jubilee Album.


Glenn Gould Plays Bach, No. 3: Goldberg Variations, a CLASART film, is released.


CBS releases Gould's new recording of the Goldberg Variations, and the album wins two GRAMMY awards and a JUNO award in 1983, as well as a Gold Disc from the Canadian Recording Industry Association in 1984. In August, he starts a new career as a conductor by recording the chamber version of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll for CBS at the St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto with a group of Toronto-area musicians. Glenn Gould, after suffering a stroke, dies in Toronto on October 4.