The Glenn Gould Foundation has announced that the twelfth recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize is American opera singer and recitalist Jessye Norman.
Announced today at a ceremony held today at Koerner Hall, the major award is offered biennially to “an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts.” The prize promotes the “vital connection between artistic excellence and the transformation of lives.”
“It is with the utmost humility and gratitude that I accept this magnificent honor, The Glenn Gould Prize, Norman said. “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 […]To have been chosen to receive this auspicious recognition is quite simply breath-taking!”
Brian Levine, Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation stated, “Jessye Norman is undoubtedly one of the great vocal artists of our time, or any time, but so much more. Her career has provided a positive role model for countless artists coming from disadvantaged circumstances as she did and overcoming the very real racial barrier that thwarted so many careers. Her triumph is an expression of the power of art to transcend all human boundaries.”
Norman will receive a cash prize of $100,000 and a sculpture by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.
Jurors included actor Viggo Mortensen, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, director and screenwriter François Girard, singer and actress Ute Lemper, writer and former Chief Justice The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, composers Foday Musa Suso, Howard Shore and Ye Xiaogang, and painter and conservationist Naeemeh Naeemaei.
As per tradition, Norman will be given the task of choosing an artist to receive The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize, which totals $15,000. Both Norman and her chosen protégé will receive their awards at a gala event later this year.
Previous winners include: Philip Glass (2015), Robert Lepage (2013), Leonard Cohen (2011), Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008), Sir André Previn (2005), Pierre Boulez (2002), Yo-Yo Ma (1999), Toru Takemitsu (1996), Oscar Peterson (1993), Lord Yehudi Menuhin (1990) and R. Murray Schafer (1987).