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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

GOULD, GLENN, 1932-1982
MUS 109


Glenn Gould fonds.  1932-1982.  - 8 m of textual records.  - ca. 1,700 photographs.  - 197 audio discs.  - 1,573 audio tape reels.  - 98 videocassettes. 

Biographical sketch
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Glenn Gould began his music studies at the age of three, with his mother as his first teacher.  He continued his studies at the Toronto Conservatory of Music with teachers Alberto Guerrero (piano) and Frederick Silvester (organ).  A prodigious talent, he received his Associate Diploma from the conservatory in October 1946.  Meanwhile, he made his debut as an organist at a recital of the Casavant Society in December 1945, and as a concert pianist in May 1946 in one of the conservatory's year-end concerts, conducted by Ettore Mazzoleni.  His career as a concert artist continued for 18 years, during which he performed with the most celebrated orchestras and conductors:  the philharmonic orchestras of New York (Bernstein) and Berlin (Karajan), the Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival (Mitropoulos), the London Symphony Orchestra (Krips), etc.  In 1964 he terminated his career as a concert performer to devote himself almost exclusively to recording (with Columbia), the production of radio and television documentaries, and the publication of literature, in which he expounds upon the merits of the electronic media.  Fascinated by studio recording, the artist exploited its technological possibilities to a degree still unequaled in the "classical" music world.  Gould composed a few works, most of which have been published.  He also produced some piano transcriptions whose subtle and original conception transcends mere reduction for piano.  Since his death in 1982, Gould has lost none of his fascination:  he has been nominated posthumously twice for a Grammy Award for best performance; the Glenn Gould Society was created in Holland, the Glenn Gould Foundation and the Friends of Glenn Gould in Canada. 

Scope and content
The fonds contains records pertaining to Glenn Gould's personal life and musical career.  The many items in this documentary ensemble reveal Gould's musicological thought; they uncover his technological bias and exceptional performing qualities which earned him international recognition. 

The fonds contains, among other items, passports; personal and professional correspondence; awards and honours; compositions; published and unpublished writings by Gould; writings on Gould in newspapers and periodicals; collection of books and scores annotated by Gould; photographs of Glenn Gould, members of his family, and personalities in the music world; sound and video recordings of Glenn Gould, of interviews and of radio broadcasts. 

The fonds consists of the following series:  MUS 109/A Writings; MUS 109/B Musical Works and Arrangements; MUS 109/C Programmes; MUS 109/D Sound and Video Recordings; MUS 109/E Publicity Records; MUS 109/F Honourary Distictions; MUS 109/G Correspondence; MUS 109/H Photographs; MUS 109/I Official Records; MUS 109/J Financial Records; MUS 109/K Medical Records; MUS 109/L Printed Material; MUS 109/M Memorabilia; MUS 109/N Miscellaneous. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from the Estate of Glenn Gould in 1983. 

Restrictions:  written permission from the Estate of Glenn Gould is required for access to the medical and certain financial records and some of the correspondence. 

Finding aids:  National Library of Canada.  Descriptive Catalogue of the Glenn Gould Papers.  Ottawa:  National Library of Canada.  1992.  326 p.  (two volumes); computerized inventories; exhibition catalogue. 
(www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/glenngould/index-e.html).



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