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American composer Philip Glass wins $100, 000 Glenn Gould Prize

philip-glass Glenn Gould Prize / Reuters


American-Jewish composer Philip Glass is the Eleventh Glenn Gould Prize Laureate: “Philip Glass has had an extraordinary impact on the musical, artistic and intellectual life of his times, through his operas, symphonies, film scores, compositions for ensembles, and wide-ranging collaborations with artists from many disciplines”.

“Our jury has made a brilliant choice in selecting Philip Glass, ” said Brian Levine, Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation. “At the start of his career his music was seen as radical and even derided for being contrary to the prevailing musical current, but his work advanced solidly until it permeated our cultural consciousness; it has exerted a profound influence on a whole generation of composers, filmmakers, dramatists and opera directors. In his work and life, he reveals himself to be a man of deep spirituality and conscience as reflected in the themes of his operatic creations and film scores. We are honoured to present the Prize to an artist of such originality, conviction and vision.”

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“I am very pleased to be the winner of the Eleventh Glenn Gould Prize”, stated Philip Glass, “It is for me a special honor as I am one of the many musicians who have been inspired by him. Glenn Gould’s name is associated with a lifetime of excellence in music interpretation and performance. Also I am aware that this award places me in the company of some of the most celebrated names in the broad spectrum of the music of our time. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that I accept this award, ”

“I am thrilled with our choice of Laureate, ” said Bob Ezrin, Chair of the Glenn Gould Prize Jury. “Philip Glass is one of the towering figures of modern music. With an iconic career that has spanned fifty years, his body of work is unrivalled in its breadth and depth. He not only helped to reclaim tonality as a vital force in serious music, he took minimalism and brought it from the fringes of the avant-garde to the mainstream where it has literally provided the subscore to most of our lives. We hear his music and music he has influenced on stage and screen – virtually everywhere. Finally, he is a man of principle and deep spirituality who has used his art to help elevate humanity. On behalf of the jury, I can say that we couldn’t be more proud of this decision.”

The full list of previous winners includes:

  • 2013 – Robert Lepage
  • 2011 – Leonard Cohen
  • 2008 – Dr. José Antonio Abreu
  • 2005 – Sir André Previn
  • 2002 – Pierre Boulez
  • 1999 – Yo-Yo Ma
  • 1996 – Toru Takemitsu
  • 1993 – Oscar Peterson
  • 1990 – Lord Yehudi Menuhin
  • 1987 – R. Murray Schafer

Philip Glass was chosen from a distinguished list of international candidates nominated by the general public and will receive a cash award and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy. This year, The Glenn Gould Foundation has announced that it will double the award to $100, 000 (CAD). Mr. Glass 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. The recipient of the Protégé Prize will be announced later this year. Both Mr. Glass and his protégé will receive their awards at a gala ceremony and their work will be honoured through a series of public events presented within the next twelve months.

The Eleventh Glenn Gould Prize Jury included singer, actress and composer Petula Clark, CBE (UK); author and broadcaster The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, PC, CC, COM, CMM, CD (Canada); tenor Jay Hunter Morris (United States); arts philanthropist HRH Julie of Luxembourg (Switzerland/United States), Prospero Pictures president, and chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Martin Katz (Canada); pipa virtuoso and Grammy Award-nominee Wu Man (China/United States); Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje, OC (Canada); renowned actor, director, and writer Sarah Polley, OC (Canada); and acclaimed soprano Deborah Voigt (United States).



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