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Jessye Norman wins the 2018 Glenn Gould Prize

By
Robert Rowat

American soprano Jessye Norman is the winner of the 12th Glenn Gould Prize.

The announcement was made on Friday, April 13, by jury chair Viggo Mortensen at a news conference at the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto.

"We had a very thorough series of discussions that helped us to gradually narrow down an impressive list of nominees, always bearing in mind Glenn Gould’s legacy and impact as a unique artist," said Mortensen via press release. "But we were united in our admiration for the 12th Glenn Gould Prize laureate, the incomparable Jessye Norman."

Norman receives a cash award of $100,000 and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy. Her work will be honoured through a series of public events presented in the upcoming year.

"It is with the utmost humility and gratitude that I accept this magnificent honour, the Glenn Gould Prize," said Norman, reacting to the news. "I was thrilled to have answered the telephone myself and to have heard this most wonderful news firsthand! My admiration for the artistic genius of Glenn Gould began very early on in my studies and was further supported in my having had Walter Homburger as the first presenter to invite me to perform in Canada. His work with Glenn Gould is of course, legendary. It was he who made certain that I could experience on film the music of Bach played by a master of the keyboard and intellect of the highest order. Thank you, Walter. Thanks to the Glenn Gould Foundation. To have been chosen to receive this auspicious recognition is quite simply breathtaking!”

The 12th Glenn Gould Prize laureate was chosen by an international jury comprising actor Mortensen (jury chair), director and screenwriter François Girard, singer and actress Ute Lemper, writer and former chief justice Beverly McLachlin, painter Naeemeh Naeemaei, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, composer and conductor Howard Shore, kora virtuoso and composer Foday Musa Suso, and composer and chairman of the China Musicians’ Association Ye Xiaogang.

The Glenn Gould Prize is awarded to an individual who has enriched the human condition through the arts. The prize was conceived as an ongoing tribute to Glenn Gould’s artistry and his multifaceted contributions to culture.

The previous Glenn Gould Prize laureates are: Philip Glass (2015), Robert Lepage (2013), Leonard Cohen (2011), Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008), Pierre Boulez (2002), Yo-Yo Ma (1999), Oscar Peterson (1993) and Yehudi Menuhin (1990).

As part of her prize, Norman will choose an outstanding young artist or ensemble to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. The recipient of the Protégé Prize will be announced later this year.

In honour of the 2018 Glenn Gould Prize jury, the Glenn Gould Foundation will present the Canadian debut of composer/pianist/violinist Alma Deutscher at Toronto's Koerner Hall on April 13 at 8 p.m.

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Hand-selected opera gems by the most celebrated dramatic tenor in the world, Ben Heppner. The most familiar arias from the most-loved operas of all time along with opera overtures, intermezzi and choruses. Performances combine the great voices of the 20th century with today's rising stars.