Jan Lisiecki invited to play Glenn Gould Steinway at its new Ottawa home


Glenn Gould’s Steinway CD318, as it looked in his apartment on St Clair Ave. (Library and Archives Canada photo).

The National Arts Centre announced today that it has placed Glenn Gould’s beloved, broken-and-pieced-together Steinway CD318 concert and recording piano on permanent display at its mezzanine level.

Young Jan Lisiecki will be the first to play the piano in public in its new space, on June 20 at 11 a.m.

Ottawa native Angela Hewitt was the most recent big name to try out the piano earlier this year, during Ottawa’s Angela Hewitt Week. Gould’s technician (who is still alive and well) extensively modified the piano’s action for a lighter, faster touch.

Gould’s other two significant pianos are in Toronto. His childhood Chickering grand sits in the lobby of the Glenn Gould Studio. After his Steinway was deemed unplayable (by everyone but Gould), he used a Yamaha concert grand for his final recording sessions; it sits in the lobby at Roy Thomson Hall.

You can read the full saga of Gould’s intense relationships with his instruments in A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano, a great book published in 2008 by American journalist Katie Hafner.

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