Glenn Gould's favourite piano and the customized chair he used for concerts and recording sessions around the globe are going on display in Ottawa.
The National Arts Centre announced Wednesday it will permanently host the pair of musical artifacts from Canada's most celebrated classical pianist.
After Gould's death in 1982, Library and Archives Canada acquired the piano and chair from his estate. In late 2011, the government department offered to transfer them to the NAC.
"Everyone wanted [the piano, known as] CD 318 to be displayed in a public place for Canadians to enjoy," said acting NAC president and CEO Christopher Deacon.
"It's an incredible honour for the NAC and makes a beautiful companion piece to our Oscar Peterson sculpture. Now we have two of Canada's greatest pianists honoured here."
Gould's preferred instrument
In 1953, Gould's father Russell customized a lightweight wooden folding chair for him to use at the piano. He took the adapted seat with him as he travelled the world to perform and also used it during recording sessions.
Gould found the piano, a Steinway CD 318, at the Eaton Auditorium in Toronto in 1960. The instrument was already 20 years old at the time, but he became enamoured of it and used it extensively.
"He was constantly searching for the perfect piano and instantly fell in love with it," according to NAC Archivist Gerry Grace. "The Steinway CD 318 was possibly the most important piano in Glenn Gould’s career."
The NAC plans to display the piano permanently on its mezzanine level, while the chair will emerge on special occasions.
Both will be unveiled to the public on June 20, with teen piano sensation Jan Lisiecki enlisted as the first performer on the CD 318 in its new home.
To help mark the occasion, staff at Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization have assembled an accompanying exhibit of artifacts from Gould's life and will also screen Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer's award-winning documentary Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.