Canada and Greece celebrate 70 years of friendship with a tribute to Glenn Gould

Virtuoso pianist Marika Bournaki

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Canada-Greece diplomatic relations, the Canadian Embassy organized a special tribute to the great Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould.

Glenn Gould. Copyright: Library and Archives Canada.

The tribute opened with the screening of the feature-length documentary "Glenn Gould's Toronto", written, narrated and performed by Glenn Gould in which the artist offers, with humour, his own highly impressionistic reflections on his favourite city and the place where he spent much of his life.

A panel discussion followed the film screening with the participation of prominent personalities from the world of classical music: Greek-Canadian Costas Pilavachis, Senior VP Classical A+R and Universal Music Group International; James Oestreich, music critic with the New York Times; and Christos Carras, Executive Director of the Onassis Cultural Centre.

The discussion focussed on Gould’s complex relationship with public concert hall performances and the "intimacy" provided by the recording studio. Discussions also addressed the impact of new recording media on the performance and distribution of classical music. To highlight Gould's turn to radio documentaries in his later career, the panel listened to excerpts from The Idea of North (1967) and The Latecomers (1969), both Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio documentaries.

The tribute to Glenn Gould also included the presentation of the first ever book published originally in the Greek language on the legendary Canadian artist. "Glenn Gould: Thoughts in Music", edited by Stefanos Theodoridis and published by one of the oldest Greek publishing companies Nefeli Publications, is an impressive collection of Gould's thoughts and views about music as expressed in his own articles, interviews, lectures, letters, discussion in radio and TV programs. It is an attempt to familiarize readers with the depth and particularities of an artist who was well ahead of his time.

The tribute concluded with the premiere performance of virtuoso pianist Marika Bournaki, a young Canadian artist with origins in Greece and with extraordinary engaging musicianship which has already brought her to the international scene. With studies at the prestigious Juilliard School, Bournaki's impressive experience includes performances with world-class symphony orchestras and numerous prizes.

The Canadian Embassy partnered with the Onassis Cultural Centre to bring the tribute to Greece, emphasizing the continued collaboration between Canadian and Greek partners, a collaboration which is based on a longstanding friendship, shared values and common objectives.