Toronto, ON (September 25, 2022) – One of the world’s foremost conductors, renowned for his dynamic presence on the podium and his unwavering belief that music has the power to transform lives and change the world, Venezuelan-born conductor, violinist and music education activist Gustavo Dudamel has been chosen as the fourteenth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate. Currently serving as Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Dudamel has introduced classical music to new audiences and provided access to the arts to many underserved communities around the world.
“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.
A tribute to Glenn Gould’s artistry and his multifaceted contributions to culture and contemporary thought, the Glenn Gould Prize celebrates artistic excellence, innovation, and humanitarianism. Dudamel was chosen from a distinguished list of international candidates across a broad spectrum of creative disciplines, nominated by members of the general public from around the globe. He will receive a cash award of $100,000 (CAD) and the Glenn Gould Prize statue by Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.
“Gustavo Dudamel is one of the great artists of our time. His commitment to the humanitarian aspect of music is vital and inspiring, and points the way to the future of art. Our jury has made a brilliant, extraordinary choice,” said Brian Levine, Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation.
“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.”
Born into a musical family, Gustavo Dudamel began violin lessons as a child but was drawn to conducting from an early age. He later studied conducting with José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema. In 1999, at the age of 18, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
Mr. Dudamel has popularized orchestral music among a broad international audience. He conducted the score to Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of West Side Story (2021), the opening and closing credits for John Williams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), performed with the LA Phil at the 2019 Academy Awards, and participated in the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show along with Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars.
As a former student of the El Sistema music education program, Mr. Dudamel is a passionate advocate for access to music. In 2007, Dudamel, the LA Phil and community partners founded YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) which now provides 1,500 young people free instruments and intensive music training. He launched The Dudamel Foundation in 2012, which he co-chairs with his wife, actress and director María Valverde, with the goal of providing tools and opportunities to increase access to music and the arts for young people. Recent initiatives include Encuentros LA 2022, a summer music education and global leadership program for young orchestra musicians co-presented with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Mr. Dudamel is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including Spain’s 2020 Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, the 2019 Konex Foundation Classical Music Award, Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2022) and Best Orchestra Performance (2012, 2020, 2021), he has been inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in 2009, and artist of the year by Musical America and Gramophone.
Later this year, Mr. Dudamel will choose an outstanding young artist or ensemble who embodies creative promise, innovation and career potential to receive the $25,000 (CAD) Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. Both Mr. Dudamel and his protégé will receive their awards at a gala ceremony in Toronto next year, and their work will be honoured through a series of public events.
The fourteenth Glenn Gould Prize Jury, chaired by legendary music and entertainment producer, educator and social activist Bob Ezrin (Canada), included acclaimed 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); boldly 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).
Principal funding provided by Canadian Heritage.
The Glenn Gould Foundation celebrates the life, career, and enduring influence of Canadian pianist, writer and broadcaster Glenn Gould. Every two years, the Foundation convenes an international jury to award the Glenn Gould Prize to a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts. Nominees for the international prize hail from a broad spectrum of creative disciplines including music, theatre, writing, film, video, radio, television, recording, technology, architecture and design. Past laureates of the international prize include documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin (2020), Jessye Norman (2018), Leonard Cohen (2011), El Sistema founder Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008), Yo-Yo Ma (1999), and Oscar Peterson (1993). For more information visit www.glenngould.ca.