A free lecture by Dr. Alexander Carpenter
2:15 pm Thursday, January 15
Roger Epp Conference Room
Eccentric/Exzentrisch: On Glenn Gould, Friedrich Gulda, and Becoming a Cultural Icon
A public lecture by Dr. Alexander Carpenter
Thursday, January 15 @ 2:15-3:00
This presentation compares the lives, careers and reception history of two of the 20th century’s great musicians: the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, and the Austrian pianist/composer Friedrich Gulda. These men–exact contemporaries–were both highly esteemed performers in the world of classic music and had long and varied careers as concert pianists, recording artists, and radio broadcasters. Both were also regarded as highly “eccentric,” and were well known for their odd mannerisms, unusual and unpredictable approaches to performance and repertoire, and for a range of publicity stunts (Gould literally took on different personae–including costumes and accents–as a music critic; Gulda once performed naked).
In the end, Gould was celebrated as a genius, and has been the subject of many books, films, radio documentaries and even a recent stage play–he risen to the status of a cultural icon in Canada; Gulda, on the other hand, is considered a marginal figure in Austrian cultural history, and is dismissed by some as a kind of novelty act, by virtue of his puckish, irreverent, genre-bending approach to composition and performance.
This lecture considers Gould and Gulda side-by-side, and asks “How are cultural icons made?” and “How is it that two great musicians, so strikingly similar in so many ways, can come to be valued so differently in their respective homelands–one, as a hero-genius, the other as a virtual musical vagabond?”
All are welcome to attend this talk, which was originally delivered at the University of Vienna in the fall of 2014 as part of the international symposium “Austria & Canada: Cultural Relations.”