On September 25 — what would have been the late pianist’s 90th birthday — Venezuelan-born conductor, violinist and music education activist Gustavo Dudamel was announced as the 14th Glenn Gould Prize Laureate.
Dudamel is currently the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.
“It was one of the greatest honors of my life when, in 2008, my maestro José Antonio Abreu was named the Glenn Gould Prize Laureate. To now be awarded this prestigious prize myself, is something that fills me with a profound gratitude. The greatest art shines a light on our best selves, and offers a reminder of all that unites us. Likewise, the work of geniuses like Maestro Abreu and Glenn Gould is a beacon that shows us the path to create a better world together,” stated Gustavo Dudamel in a media release.
The Glenn Gould Prize recognizes artistic excellence and innovation, but also humanitarianism. Dudamel was chosen from a list of candidates submitted by the public from around the world.
A bit about his meteoric career:
- Born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela to a musical family;
- Became involved with El Sistema from the age of 10;
- Studied violin, then conducting;
- Appointed director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, the national youth orchestra of Venezuela, in 1999;
- After winning several competitions, he was made principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in 2007/2008;
- Appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic effective the 2009/2010 season;
- Conducted the opening and end titles of John Williams’ soundtrack for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.
As recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize, he’ll receive a cash award of $100,000 CAD and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.
“At the end of a thrilling day of deliberation, a great artist was chosen by our jury of great artists to be our laureate. Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most exciting and inspiring conductors in the world today, as well as being a great educator, innovator and social activist,” said Bob Ezrin, Chair of The Glenn Gould Prize Jury. “I am very excited about the decision and the process. I wish everyone could have been in the room to witness the passion and profound wisdom of this extraordinary group of people.”
Dudamel is also a tireless advocate for access to musical education by youth, and is credited for introducing many people to classical music. He co-chairs the Dudamel Foundation with his wife, actress and director María Valverde, dedicated to supporting young orchestral musicians.
As part of the prize, Dudamel will choose a young artist or ensemble with extraordinary potential to receive the $25,000 (CAD) Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.
The jury members are an impressive who’s who of the music industry. They included: chair legendary music and entertainment producer Bob Ezrin (Canada), with conductor Sir Andrew Davis (United Kingdom); Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter iskwē (Canada); Artistic Director Emerita of the National Ballet of Canada Karen Kain (Canada); JUNO and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter k.d. lang (Canada); jazz and classical trumpet virtuoso William Leathers (Canada); innovative director, multimedia artist, playwright and actor Robert Lepage (Canada); music director of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing Lü Jia (China); internationally celebrated neo-Celtic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Loreena McKennitt (Canada); renowned pianist Hélène Mercier (Canada/France) and actor, writer, director Charles Officer (Canada).
The Glenn Gould Prize and the Glenn Gould Protégé Prize will be given out during a gala ceremony in Toronto in 2023.
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