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Glenn Gould

Biography

It's hard to overstate the importance of Canadian pianist Glen Gould, who is most noted for performing J.S. Bach's keyboard works with unmatched technical and artistic facility, as a modern ambassador of Baroque music. Gould was born in Toronto in 1932 and studied with his mother until he was 10, when he was accepted as a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music. There he took lessons under Alberto Guerrero and Frederick C. Silvester. In 1945 he gave his first recital, and he performed Beethoven's 4th piano concerto that year with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Though his stage career was fairly short -- he gave up public performance in 1964 -- he was the first North American pianist to play in Russia after World War II and gave a number of great performances on the CBC. Between 1964 and '82, Gould made scores of recordings; he taped definitive interpretations of Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, but he is perhaps best known for performing complex contrapuntal passages of Bach with remarkable clarity. His life has been the subject of exhaustive study, as has his eccentric personality, which included an aversion to handshakes and regular trips to a diner for scrambled eggs at 2 A.M.
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