[ Picture ]

Glenn Gould

(Photo is Gould at age 23 in the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto's concert hall. Take by Paul Rockett for Mclean's Magazine.)


A lanky young man, with a shock of dark hair, large hands, and a tendency to wave his arms about, to drift physically, moving almost rhythmically. His dress tends towards the warm and informal, a jacket and scarf, slacks.


Born: Sept. 25, 1932 in Toronto. Died Oct, 4, 1982, in Toronto after a stroke. Was superstitious about the number 50, not expecting to live to his 50th birthday.

Education: his education was almost entirely musical in focus, including his reception of a degree from the Royal Conservatory at the age of 14.

Occupation: He was a concert pianist until his retirement from the stage at the age of 32. He was throughout his life a recording artist, recording only one work twice; Bach's Goldberg Variations. He was also a writer, radio interviewer, radio show producer, and technician. He spoke English, French, and German.

His relationships were primarily with his instruments. There is little record of any significant personal relationships in his life, and,indeed he strove to maintain a distance between himself and others, a solitude that was broached almost entirely in the outward direction, when he spoke to others. He was obsessed with musical perfection, with the role of the artist in society, and with, to use a title of his own, "The Idea of North." To quote Sony Records' bio:

To him, the North represented solitude, independence, reasonableness, courage, elusiveness, spirituality, strength of character, adherence to laws, moral rectitude, and peace. He was uncomfortable with the Mediterranean temperament that manifests itself in bright colors, displays of passion, and personal display.

Gould was a kindly, driven man. He often would take an interest in people one would not expect, though always from his own point of view, from his own bent. There are tales of him taking a violin from a street musician, who was making very little money, playing for an hour or so, then giving the instrument back, the musician being much enriched, without saying a word as to who he was...


First and foremost, Gould is a musician. He plays the piano with consummate skill...he is considered by many the greatest player of the Baroque of the 20th century. He is also a skilled interviewer, speaker, and presenter of ideas. He also can ski, and knows his way around a northern environment.

Personality Questions

Would your character prefer a game of chess or a game of football?
A game of chess
If your character found a wallet in the street, would they return it?
He'd return the wallet, making sure it was not known who did it.
Would your character be more likely to be the life of the party or to quietly observe the goings-on?
Glenn would either observe, or be the focus...depending on the subject, and his own whims. He has the force of personality to take center stage, the presence...but he most often chooses not to.
Would your character be found on the top of a pyramid of people or on the bottom?
Ideally, standing off to the side, dismissing such an endeavour. Otherwise, though, at the top, or else he'd stamp off in a huff. He is a soloist, not a member of an orchestra.
Pretending to be your character, rank the following statements in order of truth. Leave out statements that are false about your character.
clever with my hands. ;-)
People listen to what I say.
I notice my surroundings.
I love to read