Don Anderson in Toronto with Glenn Gould (Andy Donaldson)
We should have been celebrating his eightieth birthday this year, but instead we’re marking the thirtieth anniversary of Glen Gould's untimely death, in 1982, at 50 years of age.
—Don Anderson, Music Instructor
Pianist Glenn Gould was Canada's greatest gift to the world of classical music. The most familiar image of him was a 24-carat eccentric who wore a scarf and gloves in summer, moaned, groaned and waved his arms and sat on a low, rickety bench while he played.
But there was so much more to him. His brilliant mind allowed him to excel in many fields, not just playing the piano but also as a documentarian, writer, speaker, philosopher, composer, conductor, and comedian (his imitation of Marlon Brando was priceless!).
Watch this trailer about Don Anderson's Glenn Gould appreciation course:
We should have been celebrating his 80th birthday this year, but instead we're marking the 30th anniversary of Glenn Gould's untimely death, in 1982, at 50 years of age.
Victor Feldbrill was the Music Director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 1958 to 1968. "Glenn Gould and I were very close," he said. "I was in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra when he played the Strauss Burleske. There are some qualities in that piece that remind me of Brahms. I spoke to Glenn in 1958 and said that if he did the Brahms First Piano Concerto it would be so great. I told him that I wanted to open my second WSO season with him, and I wanted the Brahms - would he do it? He said yes. He learned it, and his first performance was with me, here in Winnipeg." That performance is now available for the first time, on CD from the WSO.
"Glenn agreed to visit a veterans' hospital during his stay," Feldbrill continued. "He was very fussy about people touching him or shaking hands. At the hospital, a soldier who had fought in the First World War was introduced to him. He stuck out his hand to shake. Glenn pulled back his hand and said, 'I never shake hands. I'm a pianist.' The old man said, 'I play the harmonica, and I don't mind if you kiss me!'"