Glenn Herbert Gould[N 1][N 2] (September 25, 1932 – October 4, 1982) was a Canadianpianist 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 keyboard music ofJohann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency and capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bach’s music.
Gould rejected most of the standard Romantic piano literature and shunned the music of several of its composers, notably Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, and Frédéric Chopin. Although his recordings were dominated by Bach, Gould's oeuvre was diverse, including works by Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, pre-Baroque composers such as Jan Sweelinck, and such 20th-century composers as Paul Hindemith and Arnold Schoenberg. Gould was well known for various eccentricities, from his unorthodox musical interpretations and mannerisms at the keyboard to aspects of his lifestyle and personal behavior. He stopped giving concerts at the age of 31 to concentrate on studio recording and other projects.
Gould was also known as a writer, composer, conductor, and broadcaster. 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; 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 and other projects. As a broadcaster, Gould was prolific. His output ranged from television and radio broadcasts of studio performances to musique concrète radio documentaries about life in the Canadian wilderness.