On Feb. 21 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Glenn Gould Foundation president Paul Hoffert announced that Robert Lepage is the recipient of the 10th Glenn Gould Prize.
The $50,000 prize is awarded by the Glenn Gould Foundation "for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts."
Quebec-born Lepage is an actor, playwright and stage director whose most recent triumphs have occurred in the realm of opera. Lepage was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to direct its new production of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle, it's first in 20 years. The much-discussed production is the most expensive and ambitious in the Met's history. The Deutsche Grammophon DVD of the four operas that make up the Ring cycle recently won a Grammy Award for best opera recording. Here is the video trailer:
Lepage heads a Quebec-based production company, Ex-Machina, that has also been responsible for award-winning shows by Peter Gabriel and Cirque du Soleil.
Jury chair Hoffert described Lepage as "a rare contemporary artist who has continued to innovate and take risks while retaining his audiences."
Reacting to the news, Lepage said, “I am deeply honoured by this prestigious and generous accolade. As I know Glenn Gould did, I believe there is such a thing as a culture of the North and as I was walking to work this morning trying to fight my way through the heavy blizzard that had invaded my fair city, I could somewhat sense his presence in the howling wind and the vanishing footsteps I was clumsily following in the snow.”
The jury for the 10th Glenn Gould Prize comprised music producer Bob Ezrin, film director Deepa Mehta, writer John Ralston Saul, punk rock pioneer Patti Smith, businessman David Tang, tenor Rolando Villazón and Hoffert (jury chair).
The rationale behind the prize is to pay tribute to the legacy of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, recently honoured posthumously with a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In addition to the $50,000 award, prize laureates receive the Glenn Gould Prize sculpture by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy. Each Glenn Gould Prize laureate also chooses an outstanding young artist to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. Lepage will announce the recipient of the Protégé Prize at an upcoming gala ceremony in Toronto.
The first Glenn Gould Prize was awarded in 1987 to composer R. Murray Schafer. Subsequent recipients were: violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1990); pianist Oscar Peterson (1993); composer Toru Takemitsu (1996); cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1999); composer/conductor Pierre Boulez (2002); pianist/conductor/composer André Previn (2005); educator José Antonio Abreu (2008) and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (2011). Initially awarded every three years, the Glenn Gould Prize has been awarded every two years since 2011.
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