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Glenn Herbert Gould (September 25, 1932 – October 4, 1982) was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the twentieth century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by a remarkable technical proficiency and a capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bach’s music.

Gould rejected most of the standard Romantic piano literature and shunned the performance of several of its composers such as Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, and Frédéric Chopin. Although his recordings were dominated by Bach, Gould's oeuvre was diverse, including works by Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, pre-Baroque composers, and twentieth-century atonal composers such as Arnold Schoenberg. Gould was also well-known for various eccentricities, ranging from his unorthodox musical interpretations and mannerisms at the keyboard, to aspects of his lifestyle and personal behavior. He abandoned the concert platform at the age of 31 to concentrate on studio recording and other projects.

Gould was also known as a writer, composer, conductor, and broadcaster. He was a prolific contributor to musical journals, in which he discussed musical theory and outlined his musical philosophy. His career as a composer was less distinguished; his output was minimal and many projects were left unfinished. There is evidence that, if he had lived beyond the age of fifty, he intended to abandon the piano, and devote the remainder of his career to conducting and other projects. As a broadcaster, Gould was prolific. His output ranged from television and radio broadcasts of studio performances to non-musical radio documentaries about life in the Canadian wilderness.


Gould in February 1946 with his dog, Nick

Glenn Herbert Gould was born at home in Torontomarker on September 25, 1932, to Russell Herbert ("Bert") Gold and Florence ("Flora") Emma Gold (née Greig), Presbyterians of Scottish and English ancestry. His maternal grandfather was a cousin of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The family's surname was changed to Gould informally around 1939 in order to avoid being mistaken as Jewish, due to a series of reasons centering on the prevailing anti-Semitism of prewar Toronto and the Gold surname's Jewish association. Gould had no Jewish ancestry, though he sometimes made jokes on the subject, e.g., "When people ask me if I'm Jewish, I always tell them that I was Jewish during the war."

Gould's interest in music and his talent as a pianist became evident very early on. He had perfect pitch and could read music before he could read words. His father, Bert Gould, reported that at a young age, Glenn behaved differently from typical children at the piano: he would strike single notes and listen to their long decay. Both his parents were musical, and his mother, especially, encouraged the infant Gould's early musical development. His interest in the piano proceeded side by side with an interest in composition; he would play his own little pieces for family, friends, and sometimes large gatherings. For example, in 1938, in the company of his mother, Gould attended the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church (a few blocks from the Gould house) and performed one of his own compositions. When he was six, Glenn was taken for the first time to hear a live musical performance by a celebrated soloist; this had a tremendous effect on him. He later described the experience:
It was Hofmann.
It was, I think, his last performance in Toronto, and it was a staggering impression.
The only thing I can really remember is that, when I was being brought home in a car, I was in that wonderful state of half-awakeness in which you hear all sorts of incredible sounds going through your mind.
They were all orchestral sounds, but I was playing them all, and suddenly I was Hofmann.
I was enchanted.

Gould's first piano teacher was his mother until he reached the age of ten. Then, he began attending the The Royal Conservatory of Musicmarker in Toronto, where he studied piano with Alberto Guerrero, organ with Frederick C. Silvester, and music theory with Leo Smith. Gould passed his final Conservatory examination in piano at the age of twelve (achieving the 'highest marks of any candidate'), thus attaining 'professional standing as a pianist' at that age. One year later he passed the written theory exams, qualifying for the ATCM diploma (Associate, Toronto Conservatory of Music).

In 1945, he gave his first public performance, playing the organ, and the following year, he made his first appearance with an orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in a performance of the first movement of Beethoven's 4th piano concerto. His first solo recital followed in 1947, and his first recital on radio was with the CBC in 1950. This was the beginning of his long association with radio and recording.

In 1957, Gould toured the Soviet Unionmarker, becoming the first North American to play there since World War II. His concerts featured Bach, Beethoven, and the serial music of Schoenberg and Berg, which had been suppressed in the Soviet Unionmarker during the era of Socialist Realism.

On April 10, 1964, Gould gave his last public performance, playing in Los Angelesmarker, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatermarker. Among the pieces he performed that night were Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30, selections from Bach's The Art of Fugue, and the Piano Sonata No. 3, by Paul Hindemith. Gould performed fewer than two hundred concerts over the course of his career, of which fewer than forty were overseas. For pianists such as Van Cliburn, two hundred concerts would have amounted to about two year's touring. For the rest of his life, Gould eschewed live performance, focusing instead on recording, writing, and broadcasting. Towards the end of his life, he began conducting; he had earlier directed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and cantata BWV 54, Widerstehe doch der Sünde from the harpsipiano (a piano with metal hammers to simulate a harpsichord's sound) in the 1960s. His last recording was as a conductor, doing Wagner's Siegfried Idyll in its original chamber music scoring. He had intended to give up the piano at the age of 50, spending later years conducting, writing about music, and composing.

Gould suffered many pains and ailments, though he was something of a hypochondriac, and his autopsy revealed few underlying problems in areas that often troubled him.

He suffered a stroke on 27 September 1982, which paralyzed the left side of his body. He was admitted to the hospital, and his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was taken off life support on October 4. He is buried in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemeterymarker.

Gould as a pianist

Gould was known for his vivid musical imagination, and listeners regarded his interpretations as ranging from brilliantly creative to, on occasion, outright eccentric. His piano playing had great clarity, particularly in contrapuntal passages, and extraordinary control. He was considered a child prodigy, and in adulthood was also described as a musical phenomenon. As he played, he often swayed his torso, almost always in a clockwise motion.

When Gould was around ten years old, he injured his back as a result of a fall from a boat ramp on the shore of Lake Simcoemarker. This incident is almost certainly not related to his father's subsequent construction for him of an adjustable-height chair, which he used for the rest of his life. This famous chair was designed so that Gould could sit very low at the keyboard with the object of pulling down on the keys rather than striking them from above—a central technical idea of his teacher, Alberto Guerrero. Gould's mother urged the young Gould to sit up straight at the keyboard.

Gould developed a formidable technique. It enabled him to choose very fast tempos while retaining the separateness and clarity of each note. His extremely low position at the instrument, arguably, permitted more control over the keyboard. Gould showed considerable technical skill in performing and recording a wide repertoire including virtuosic and romantic works, such as his own arrangement of Ravel's La Valse and Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven's fifth and sixth symphonies. Gould worked from a young age with his teacher Alberto Guerrero on a technique known as finger-tapping, a method of training the fingers to act more independently from the arm.

Gould claimed he almost never practiced on the piano, preferring to study music by reading it rather than playing it, a technique he had also learned from Guerrero. His manual practicing focussed on articulation, rather than basic facility. He may have spoken ironically about his practicing, but there is evidence that on occasion, he did practice quite hard, sometimes using his own drills and techniques.

He stated that he didn't understand the requirement of other pianists to continuously reinforce their relationship with the instrument by practicing many hours a day. It seems that Gould was able to practice mentally without access to an instrument, and even took this so far as to prepare for a recording of Brahms piano works without ever playing them until a few weeks before the recording sessions. This is all the more staggering considering the absolute accuracy and phenomenal dexterity exhibited in his playing. Gould's large repertoire also demonstrated this natural mnemonic gift.

The piano, Gould said, "is not an instrument for which I have any great love as such... [but] I have played it all my life, and it is the best vehicle I have to express my ideas." In the case of Bach, Gould admitted, "[I] fixed the action in some of the instruments I play on—and the piano I use for all recordings is now so fixed—so that it is a shallower and more responsive action than the standard. It tends to have a mechanism which is rather like an automobile without power steering: you are in control and not it; it doesn't drive you, you drive it. This is the secret of doing Bach on the piano at all. You must have that immediacy of response, that control over fine definitions of things."

Of significant influence upon the teenage Gould were Artur Schnabel (Gould: "The piano was a means to an end for him, and the end was to approach Beethoven."); Rosalyn Tureck's recordings of Bach ("upright, with a sense of repose and positiveness"); and Leopold Stokowski.

Gould had a pronounced aversion to what he termed a "hedonistic" approach to the piano repertoire, performance, and music generally. For Gould, "hedonism" in this sense denoted a superficial theatricality, something to which he felt Mozart, for example, became increasingly susceptible later in his career. He associated this drift towards hedonism with the emergence of a cult of showmanship and gratuitous virtuosity on the concert platform in the nineteenth century and later. The institution of the public concert, he felt, degenerated into the "blood sport" with which he struggled, and which he ultimately rejected.


In creating music, Gould much preferred the control and intimacy provided by the recording studio; he disliked the concert hall, which he compared to a competitive sporting arena. After his final public performance in 1964, he devoted his career solely to the studio, recording albums and several radio documentaries. He was attracted to the technical aspects of recording, and considered the manipulation of tape to be another part of the creative process. Although Gould's recording studio producers have testified that 'he needed splicing, [or overdubbing] less than most performers', Gould used the process to give him total artistic control over the recording process. He recounted his recording of the A minor fugue from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier and how it was spliced together from two takes, with the fugue's expositions from one take and its episodes from another.

Gould's first major recording, The Goldberg Variations, came in 1955, at Columbia Masterworks' 30th Street Studios in New York City. Although there was initially some controversy at CBS as to whether this was the most appropriate piece to record, the finished product received phenomenal praise and was among the best-selling classical music albums of its time. Gould became closely associated with the piece, playing it in full or in part at many of his recitals. Another version of the Goldberg Variations, recorded in 1981, would be among his last recordings, and one of only a few pieces he recorded twice in the studio. The 1981 recording was one of CBS Masterworks' first digital recordings. The two recordings are very different: the first, highly energetic and often frenetic; the second, slower and more introspective. In the latter, Gould treats the Aria and its thirty variations as one cohesive piece. There are also two other recordings of the Goldberg Variations. One is a live recording from 1954 (CBC PSCD2007); the other is a live recording from Salzburg in 1959 (Sony SRCR-9500).

Gould recorded most of Bach's other keyboard works, including the complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Partitas, French Suites, English Suites, and keyboard concertos. For his only recording at the organ, he recorded about half of The Art of Fugue. He also recorded all five of Beethoven's piano concertos and 23 of the 32 piano sonatas.

Gould also recorded works by Beethoven, Brahms, and many other prominent piano composers, though he was outspoken in his criticism of some of them. He was extremely critical of Frederic Chopin. Despite creating a vast discography, Gould never bothered to record any of Chopin's works. In a radio interview, when asked if he didn't find himself wanting to play Chopin, he replied: "No, I don't. I play it in a weak moment — maybe once a year or twice a year for myself. But it doesn't convince me." Although Gould recorded all of Mozart's sonatas and admitted enjoying the "actual playing" of them, he was a harsh critic of Mozart's music to the extent of arguing (perhaps a little puckishly) that Mozart died too late rather than too early. He was fond of many lesser-known composers, such as Orlando Gibbons, whose Anthems he had heard as a teenager, and for whose music he felt a 'spiritual attachment'. He recorded a number of Gibbons's keyboard works and nominated him as his all-time favourite composer, despite his better-known admiration for the technical mastery of Bach. He made recordings of piano music little-known in North America, including music by Jean Sibelius (the sonatines, Kyllikki); Georges Bizet (the Variations Chromatiques de Concert and the Premier nocturne); Richard Strauss (the piano sonata, the five pieces, Enoch Arden); and Paul Hindemith (the three sonatas, the sonatas for brass and piano). He also made recordings of the complete piano works and Lieder of Arnold Schoenberg.

One of Gould's performances of the Prelude and Fugue in C Major from Book Two of The Well-Tempered Clavier was chosen for inclusion on the NASAmarker Voyager Golden Record by a committee headed by Carl Sagan. The disc of recordings was placed on the spacecraft Voyager 1, which is now approaching interstellar space and is the farthest human-made object from Earth.


The success of Gould's collaborations with other artists was to a degree dependent upon their receptiveness to his sometimes unconventional readings of the music. His television collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin in 1965, recording works by Bach, Beethoven and Schoenberg, was deemed a success because "Menuhin was ready to embrace the new perspective opened up by an unorthodox view." In 1966, his collaboration with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, however, recording Richard Strauss's Ophelia Lieder, op. 67, was deemed an "outright fiasco". Schwarzkopf believed in "total fidelity" to the score, but she also objected to the thermal conditions in the recording studio: "The studio was incredibly overheated, which may be good for a pianist but not for a singer: a dry throat is the end as far as singing is concerned. But we persevered nonetheless. It wasn't easy for me. Gould began by improvising something Straussian—we thought he was simply warming up, but no, he continued to play like that throughout the actual recordings, as though Strauss's notes were just a pretext that allowed him to improvise freely...".

Radio documentaries

Less well-known is Gould's work in radio. This work was, in part, the result of Gould's long association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for which he produced numerous television and radio programs. Notable recordings include his Solitude Trilogy, consisting of The Idea of North, a meditation on Northern Canada and its people; The Latecomers, about Newfoundlandmarker; and The Quiet in the Land, on Mennonites in Manitobamarker. All three use a technique that Gould called "contrapuntal radio", in which several people are heard speaking at once—much like the voices in a fugue.

Rediscovered footage of a live performance

In 2002, during preparations for Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee Tour of Canada, previously lost footage of a Glenn Gould performance was discovered. It was part of a CBC program of various musical performances that had followed the Queen's 1957 television address to Canadians from Rideau Hallmarker, and featured a seven-minute live performance in which he plays the second and third movements of Bach's Keyboard Concerto in F Minor.


As a teenager, Gould wrote chamber music and piano works in the style of the Second Viennese school of composition. His only significant work was the String Quartet, Op. 1, which he finished when he was in his 20s, and perhaps his cadenzas to Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, which can be heard on his recording of the piece and have recently been recorded by the German pianist Lars Vogt.

Early works:
  • 5 little pieces (Piano)
  • 2 pieces (Piano)
  • Sonata for Piano (unfinished)
  • Sonata for Bassoon and Piano

Slightly later works:

The majority of his work is published by Schott Music. The recording Glenn Gould: The Composer contains his original works excepting the cadenzas.

Not only a composer, Gould was a prolific arranger of orchestral repertoire for piano. His arrangements include his Wagner and Ravel transcriptions that he recorded, as well as the operas of Richard Strauss and the symphonies of Schubert and Bruckner, which he played privately for his own pleasure.

Critical response

Gould's String Quartet Op. 1 (published in 1956 and recorded in 1960) had a mixed reception from the critics. For example, the notices from the Christian Science Monitor and The Saturday Review were quite laudatory, while the response from the Montreal Star was less so. There is not an extensive critical commentary on Gould's compositional work for the simple reason that there is not much of it: he never proceeded beyond Opus 1. Although the String Quartet was not Gould's last published composition, there was never an Opus 2. Gould left a lot of compositions unfinished. Ultimately Gould failed in his ambition to become a composer because, as he admitted himself, he lacked a 'personal voice'.


A replica of Glenn Gould's chair.

Glenn Gould usually hummed while he played, and his recording engineers had mixed results in how successfully they were able to exclude his voice from recordings. Gould claimed that his singing was subconscious and increased proportionately with the inability of the piano in question to realize the music as he intended. It is likely that this habit originated in Gould's having been taught by his mother to "sing everything that he played", as Kevin Bazzana puts it. This became "an unbreakable (and notorious) habit". Some of Gould's recordings were severely criticised because of the background "vocalise". For example, a reviewer of his 1981 re-recording of the Goldberg Variations opined that many listeners would "find the groans and croons intolerable". A similar habit is often exhibited by jazz pianists Keith Jarrett, Erroll Garner and even, in a somewhat less obtrusive way, Oscar Peterson.

Gould was renowned for his peculiar body movements while playing (circular swaying; conducting; or grasping at the air as if to reach for notes, as he did in the taping of Beethoven's Tempest Sonata) and for his insistence on absolute control over every aspect of his playing environment. The temperature of the recording studio had to be exactly regulated. He invariably insisted that it be extremely warm. According to Friedrich, the air conditioning engineer had to work just as hard as the recording engineers. The piano had to be set at a certain height and would be raised on wooden blocks if necessary. A small rug would sometimes be required for his feet underneath the piano. He had to sit fourteen inches above the floor and would only play concerts while sitting on the old chair his father had made. He continued to use this chair even when the seat was completely worn through. His chair is so closely identified with him that it is shown in a place of honor in a glass case at the National Library of Canadamarker.

Conductors responded diversely to Gould and his playing habits. George Szell, who led Gould in 1957 with the Cleveland Orchestra, remarked to his assistant, "That nut's a genius." Leonard Bernstein said, "There is nobody quite like him, and I just love playing with him." Ironically, Bernstein created a stir in April 1962 when, just before the New York Philharmonic was to perform the Brahms D minor piano concerto with Gould as soloist, he informed the audience that he was assuming no responsibility for what they were about to hear. Specifically, he was referring to Gould's insistence that the entire first movement be played at half the indicated tempo. Plans for a studio recording of the performance came to nothing; the live radio broadcast (along with Bernstein's disclaimer) was subsequently released on CD.

Gould was averse to cold, and wore heavy clothing (including gloves), even in warm places. He was once arrested, presumably mistaken for a vagrant, while sitting on a park bench in Sarasota, Florida, dressed in his standard all-climate attire of coat(s), warm hat, and mittens. He also disliked social functions. He hated being touched, and in later life he limited personal contact, relying on the telephone and letters for communication. Upon one visit to historic Steinway Hall in New York Citymarker in 1959, the chief piano technician at the time, William Hupfer, greeted Gould by giving him a slap on the back. Gould was shocked by this, and complained of aching, lack of coordination, and fatigue due to the incident; he even went on to explore the possibility of litigation against Steinway & Sonsmarker if his apparent injuries were permanent. He was known for cancelling performances at the last minute, which is why Bernstein's above-mentioned public disclaimer opens with, "Don't be frightened, Mr. Gould is here; will appear in a moment."

In his liner notes and broadcasts, Gould created more than two dozen alter egos for satirical, humorous, or didactic purposes, permitting him to write hostile reviews or incomprehensible commentaries on his own performances. Probably the best-known are the German musicologist "Karlheinz Klopweisser", the English conductor "Sir Nigel Twitt-Thornwaite", and the American critic "Theodore Slutz".

Fran's Restaurantmarker was a constant haunt of Gould's. A CBC profile noted, "sometime between two and three every morning, Gould would go to Fran's, a 24-hour diner a block away from his Toronto apartment, sit in the same booth, and order the same meal of scrambled eggs." (Note that the Fran's location at 21 St. Clair West that Gould used to frequent, has been closed. But there are other Fran's locations in Toronto.)

Philosophical and aesthetic views

Gould stated that had he not been a musician, he would have been a writer. He wrote music criticism and expounded his philosophy of music and art. In these he rejected what he deemed banal in music composition and its consumption by the public, and also gave insightful analyses of the music of Richard Strauss, Alban Berg and Anton Webern.Despite certain modernist sympathies, Gould's attitude to popular music was ambivalent or negative. He enjoyed a jazz concert with his friends as a youth, mentioned jazz in his writings, and once criticized The Beatles for "bad voice leading". He did, however, share a mutual admiration with jazz pianist Bill Evans, who made his seminal record "Conversations with Myself" using Gould's celebrated Steinway CD 318 piano. He believed that the keyboard is fulfilled as an instrument primarily through counterpoint, a musical style that reached its zenith during the Baroque era. Much of the homophony that followed, he felt, belongs to a less serious and less spiritual period of art.

Gould was convinced that the institution of the public concert with audience en masse and the tradition of applause was not only an anachronism, but also a "force of evil," and that these practices should be abandoned. This doctrine he set forth, half in jest and half seriously, in "GPAADAK", the Gould Plan for the Abolition of Applause and Demonstrations of All Kinds.

Gould enjoyed solitude, and expressed that theme in his trio of radio documentaries, the Solitude Trilogy.

Having entertained a lifelong fascination with the hereafter, with theories of reincarnation and mystic numerology akin to those of Arnold Schoenberg, Gould believed that he would be reincarnated two years after his death in the person of Sam Caldwell, a media theorist and contrapuntal poet. This belief was strengthened by Gould's regrets (expressed particularly in his 1980 interviews with Bruno Monsaigneon) that he had not brought his contrapuntal radio work to a satisfactory stage of completion. With plans to explore to its logical conclusion the application of Wagnerian leitmotifs and J.S. Bach's contrapuntal textures in the medium of the spoken word, and particularly in poetry, Gould conceived of this fictional "second go-around" toward the end of his already immensely productive lifetime.


Early in his life, Gould suffered a spine injury, which prompted his physicians to prescribe an assortment of painkillers and other drugs for him. Some speculate that his continued use of prescription medications throughout his career had a deleterious effect on his health. He was highly concerned about his health throughout his life, worrying about everything from high blood pressure to the safety of his hands. It is often claimed that Gould never shook hands with anyone and always wore gloves; however, there are documented cases of Gould shaking hands.

Gould's experience with psychoanalytic treatment and medication is well documented. After Gould's death, Dr. Timothy Maloney, director of the Music Division of the National Library of Canada, wrote about the possibility that Gould also had Asperger syndrome, commonly referred to as a high-functioning type of autism first described in a medical paper in 1981. This idea was first tentatively proposed by Gould's biographer, Dr. Peter Ostwald, who argued that Gould's eccentricities—such as rocking and humming, isolation, difficulty with social interaction, dislike of being touched, and uncanny focus and technical ability—can be related to the symptoms displayed by persons with AS, according to Maloney. Ostwald died before he could further develop his theory; however, other experts dismiss this theory as postmortem diagnosis based on circumstantial evidence. Dr. Helen Mesaros, a Toronto psychiatrist and author, published a rebuttal to Maloney's paper, suggesting that there are ample psychological and emotional explanations for Gould's eccentricities and that it is not necessary to resort to neurological explanations.

Recent information and research on ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) would accurately support Dr. Peter Ostwald's conclusion, as all the symptoms he mentions plus others, such as sensitivity to temperature, fixation on routines and specific objects (i.e. the totem-like chair) and social difficulties are now recognized as being associated with the diagnosis.


Gould lived a private life: Bruno Monsaingeon said of him, "No supreme pianist has ever given of his heart and mind so overwhelmingly while showing himself so sparingly."

In 2007, Cornelia Foss, wife of composer and conductor Lukas Foss, publicly claimed in an article in the Toronto Star (August 25, 2007) that she and Gould had had a love affair lasting several years. She and her husband had met Gould in Los Angeles in 1956. Cornelia was an art instructor who had studied sculpture at the American Academy in Rome; Lukas was a pianist and composer who conducted both the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

After several years, Glenn and Cornelia became lovers. Cornelia left Lukas in 1967 for Gould, taking her two children with her to Toronto, where she purchased a house near Gould's apartment, at 110 St. Clair Avenue West. According to Cornelia, "There were a lot of misconceptions about Glenn, and it was partly because he was so very private. But I assure you, he was an extremely heterosexual man. Our relationship was, among other things, quite sexual." Their affair lasted until 1972, when she returned to Lukas. As early as two weeks after leaving her husband, she had noticed disturbing signs in Gould. She describes a serious paranoid episode:

"It lasted several hours, and then I knew he was not just neurotic—there was more to it. I thought to myself, 'Good grief, am I going to bring up my children in this environment?' But I stayed four and a half years." Foss did not discuss details, but others close to Gould said he was convinced someone was trying to poison him and that others were spying on him.

Awards and recognitions

Statue of Glenn Gould, Toronto.

Glenn Gould received many honors before and after his death, although he personally claimed to despise competition in music. In 1983, he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Gould won four Grammy Awards:


  • a. Bazzana states, "Gould's first name is frequently misspelled as "Glen" in documents (including official ones) dating back to the beginning of his life, and Gould himself used both spellings interchangeably throughout his life." Bazzana further investigated the name-change records in Ontario's Office of the Registrar General and found only a record of his father Bert's name-change to Gould in 1979 (to be able to legally marry with that name); he concludes that the family's name-change was informal and "Gould was still legally 'Glenn Herbert Gold' when he died."
  • b. According to Bazzana, "[Gould's] birth certificate gave his name as 'Gold, Glenn Herbert.' The family name had always been Gold [...] All of the documents through 1938 that survive among Gould's papers give his surname as 'Gold,' but beginning at least as early as June 1939, the family name was almost always printed 'Gould' in newspapers, programs, and other sources; the last confirmed publication of 'Gold' is in the program for a church supper and concert on October 27, 1940. The whole family adopted the new surname."
  • c. Full circumstances of the name-change can be found in Bazzana (2003), pp. 24–26.
  • d. According to Bazzana, "At least as far back as the mid-eighteenth century, there were no Jews in this particular Gold lineage."
  • e. Friedrich first states that Gould performed the Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 30 (Opus 109) but later states that he performed the Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 31 (Opus 110). Bazzana cites the Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 30 (Opus 109)
  • f. In a heading, Bazzana quotes Gould as saying, "They say I'm a hypochondriac, and, of course, I am."
  • g. Ostwald specifies "No physical abnormalities were found in the kidneys, prostate, bones, joints, muscles, or other parts of the body that Glenn so often had complained about."


  1. Bazzana (2003), p. 21
  2. Bazzana (2003), p. 30
  3. Bazzana (2003), p. 24
  4. Friedrich (1990), p. 15
  5. Ostwald (1997), p. 48
  6. Payzant (1978), p. 2
  7. Bazzana (2003), p. 76
  8. Friedrich (1990), p.32
  9. Friedrich (1990), p. 35
  10. Friedrich (1990), p. 36
  11. Friedrich (1990), p. 38
  12. Bazzana (2003), p. 163
  13. Bazzana (2003), p. 229
  14. Bazzana (2003), pp. 232-233
  15. Friedrich (1990), p. 315
  16. Ostwald (1997), pp. 325–328
  17. He did this in music of medium to very slow tempo. The clockwise motion is associated with left-handedness (Theodore H. Blau, The torque test: A measurement of cerebral dominance. 1974, American Psychological Association) and rather than mental abnormality suggests a musical function.
  18. Friedrich, 1990, p. 27. Otto Friedrich dates this incident on the basis of discussion with Gould's father, who is cited by Friedrich as stating that it occurred "when the boy was about ten".
  19. Ostwald 1997, p. 71.
  20. Ostwald 1997, p. 73.
  21. Friedrich (1990), p.31
  22. In outtakes of the Goldberg Variations, Gould describes clearly his practicing technique by composing a drill on Variation 11, remarking that he is "still sloppy" and with his usual humor that "a little practicing is in order." He is also heard practicing other parts of the Goldbergs. Of earlier years, it was recalled that "he would not come out [away from the piano] until he knew it" (of one of Beethoven's piano concertos, from the film Glenn Gould: A Portrait, 1985).
  23. Interview with Gould by David Dubal in "The World of the Concert Pianist", pp. 180–183. There are recordings of Gould practicing, but to what extent he did is difficult to determine.
  24. From the liner notes to Bach Partitas, Preludes and Fugues, p. 15: Sony CD SM2K-52597.
  25. Friedrich, 1990, p. 147.
  26. Friedrich, 1990, p. 100.
  27. Bazzana, 2003, p.263
  28. Ostwald, 1997, p.119
  29. "Of Mozart and Related Matters. Glenn Gould in Conversation with Bruno Monsaingeon", Piano Quarterly, Fall 1976. Reprinted in Page (1990), p. 33. See also Ostwald, p. 249.
  30. Ostwald 1997, p. 249.
  31. Ostwald, 1997, p.257
  32. Ostwald, 1997, pp. 256-257
  33. Friedrich, 1990, p.141
  34. He discusses this on the Bruno Monsaingeon film Chemins de la Musique.
  35. Gould Meets Menuhin, Sony Classical, SMK 52688, 1993.
  36. Sony Classical, Richard Strauss, Ophelia-Lieder, et al., SM2K 52657, 1992, Liner Notes, p. 12.
  37. CBC's Dan Bjarnason reports on newly discovered film of Glenn Gould's live television performance for the Queen's 1957 visit to Canada (Runs 3:24). It also contained footage of a Quodlibet including the Star-Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen.
  38. The Schubert can be seen briefly on Hereafter, the transcription of Bruckner's 8th symphony Gould alludes to in an article in The Glenn Gould Reader where he deprecates its "sheer ledger-line unplayability"; the Strauss opera playing can be seen in one of the Humphrey Burton conversations and is referred to by almost everyone who saw him play in private.
  39. Friedrich, 1990, pp. 165-166
  40. Friedrich, 1990, p.170
  41. Friedrich, 1990, p.172
  42. Bazzana, 2003, p. 47.
  43. Greenfield, E., Layton, R., & March, I., The New Penguin Guide to Compact Discs and Cassettes, Penguin, 1988, p. 44.
  44. Friedrich, 1990, p. 50.
  45. Ostwald 1997, p. 18.
  46. Friedrich, 1990, p. 51.
  47. Ostwald, 1997, pp. 304–306.
  48. Bazzana 2003, p. 158.
  49. Friedrich, p. 62.
  50. From the liner notes to Bach Partitas, Preludes and Fugues, p. 14: Sony CD SM2K-52597.
  51. These comments can be found in essays in The Glenn Gould Reader.
  52. This is discussed and can be seen on the film On and Off the Record.
  53. Friedrich, p. 267. Interview of Timothy Findley: "[...]Everybody said you never touched his hands, you never try to shake hands with him, but the first thing he did to me was to offer to shake hands. He offered me his hand in a very definite way, none of this tentative, 'don't-touch-me' stuff."
  54. see Timothy Maloney, "Glenn Gould, Autistic Savant", in Sounding Off: Theorizing Disability in Music, edited by Neil Lerner & Joseph Straus (New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 121–135 (Chapter 9).
  55. 'So far, I have not been persuaded that such a diagnosis [Ostwald and Maloney's suggestions of Asperger syndrome] really fits the biographical facts or is necessary for making sense of Gould. — Bazzana, 2003, p. 5.
  56. Monsaingeon, Bruno, 'Introduction to The Last Puritan', 1983, Library and Archives Canada, Retrieved on 2009-05-29
  57. The Toronto Star, August 25, 2007, Retrieved on 2009-05-29
  58. The Toronto Star, August 25, 2007, Retrieved on 2009-05-29.
  59. Bazzana (2003), p. 27
  60. Friedrich (1990), p. 108
  61. Friedrich (1990), p. 354
  62. Bazzana (2003), p. 229
  63. Bazzana (2003), pp. 352–368
  64. Ostwald (1997), p. 329


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