Glenn Herbert Gould was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency and capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bachs music, after his adolescence, Gould rejected most of the standard Romantic piano literature including Liszt, Schumann, and Chopin. Gould was well known for eccentricities, from his unorthodox musical interpretations and mannerisms at the keyboard to aspects of his lifestyle. He stopped giving concerts at the age of 31 to concentrate on studio recording, Gould was the first pianist to record any of Liszts piano transcriptions of Beethovens symphonies. Gould was also known as a writer, composer, conductor and he was a prolific contributor to musical journals, in which he discussed music theory and outlined his musical philosophy. His career as a composer was less distinguished and his output was minimal and many projects were left unfinished. There is evidence that, had he lived beyond 50, he intended to abandon the piano and devote the remainder of his career to conducting, as a broadcaster, Gould was prolific. His output ranged from television and radio broadcasts of performances to musique concrète radio documentaries about life in the Canadian wilderness. Glenn Herbert Gould was born at home in Toronto on 25 September 1932, to Russell Herbert Gold and Florence Emma Gold and his maternal grandfather was a cousin of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Gould had no Jewish ancestry, though he made jokes on the subject, like When people ask me if Im Jewish. Gould grew up in a home at 32 Southwood Drive, Toronto and his childhood home has been named a historic site by the City of Toronto. Goulds interest in music and his talent as a pianist became evident very early, both his parents were musical, and his mother, especially, encouraged the infant Goulds early musical development. Before his birth, his mother planned for him to become a successful musician, as a baby, he reportedly hummed instead of crying and wiggled his fingers as if playing chords, leading his doctor to predict that he would be either a physician or a pianist. By the age of three, Goulds perfect pitch was noticed and he learned to read music before he could read words. When presented with a piano, the young Gould was reported to strike notes and listen to their long decay. Goulds interest in the piano proceeded side by side with an interest in composition and he would play his own little pieces for family, friends, and sometimes large gatherings, including, in 1938, a performance at the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of one of his own compositions. At the age of six, he was taken for the first time to hear a live performance by a celebrated soloist
Glenn Gould with his teacher, Alberto Guerrero, demonstrating Guerrero's technical idea that Gould should pull down at keys instead of striking them from above. The photo was taken in 1945, before Gould fully developed this technique.