Variations on Solitude: Glenn Gould

Three decades since his death, Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s inner life endures with as much legend as his recordings.

“He was attracted to perfect solitude in its extreme and saw his own compromises—watching television, for example—as weaknesses”

Every year, hundreds of tourists make the pilgrimage to an unexceptional art deco building known as the Park Lane Apartments in Toronto’s Deer Park. They come to pay homage to the late Glenn Gould, one of the world’s most famous classical pianists and composers—and a quirky and intensely private person.

Gould moved to the Park Lane Apartments in 1960 and lived there until he died in 1982 at the age of 50. Suite 902 was his first “adult” home; until age 28, the international celebrity chose to live with his parents in the Beach, a middle-class suburb of Toronto. While not architecturally significant on its own, the building—specifically his 9th-floor penthouse—was a place where Gould could fully inhabit his life as an artist without an audience.

Many regard Gould’s most si...

ISSUE 52

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