Sample Essay on Canadian Icon

Glenn Gould

An icon is an individual, institution or even a thing with a symbolic regard, more so of a movement or culture considered of significant worth, admiration, and respect. Every country in the world has her icons. Canada is no exception.  For instance people like Terry Fox, David Suzuki, and Pianist Glenn Herbert Gould.  One of the greatest icons is Canada’s most famous cultural son, Mr. Glenn Gould (Kingwell, 2009).  This essay examines various aspects in his work that made him one of Canada’s icons.  The work also illustrates how his work made him an exemplary figure worth respect among the Canadians.

Glenn Herbert Gould was born on 25th September 1932 at Toronto to Russell Herbert and Florence Emma. Glenn learned to play piano at an early age. He was majorly taught by his mother who was equally a gifted artist.  At ten years of age, Glenn joined The Royal Conservatory of Music which later changed to Toronto Conservatory Music in 1947 after receiving a charter from King George VI. He passed his exams while twelve years of age with the highest scores among other students in his grade.  He thus became a professional pianist at such tender age (Gould & Cott, 2005).

The gifted artist made his American debut in 1955; a year later he released his first recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and started his international concert career. He was successful in the successive years till 1964 when he retired from live concerts. Glenn revolutionized the Canadian music industry by the introduction of new technology in his recording. However, this sparked debate whether he was still authentic as the work was being highly ‘refined’ in the studio.  Mr. Glenn, however, maintained his work was as original as they were before the adoption of the new technology. Time would later prove him right as most artists would later adopt the technology in their work. Mr. Glen in his lecture titled “Forgery and in the Creative Process,” he denied the claims that are adopting technology in the recording was affecting the creativity of an artist. He had also introduced a new flavor to his music by advancing his instruments. For example, he advances his piano produce heavy metallic sound according to Hecker (2008).

Glenn Herbert’s contribution in art development in Canada cannot be underestimated. His successful collaboration with other artist helped him and other the artists to reach out to more audience. However, not all collaborations were considered successful. For instance, in 1966 his work with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was considered a failure. Other than music recordings, Glenn was also involved in some of the most successful Television and Radio Programs (2009).

With his musical prowess, Mr. Glenn received several awards and honors during his career. He is one the Canadian artist with the rich legacy. According to Kingwell (2009), no performer after him could escape his influence and that every performer had to perform through him. His works have been used in several films across the world.  Another of his performances of Prelude and Fugue is included in the NASA Voyager Golden Records. His work is also very common in poetry, visual arts and fictions (Kingwell, 2009).


One of Canadian great icons is Glenn Hebert. Glenn is considered one of the Canadian icons due to his influence in the music industry in Canada. He was very crucial in the introduction of technology in the recording of music in Canada.



Bazzana, K. (2010). Wondrous strange: The life and art of Glenn Gould. McClelland & Stewart.

Gould, G., & Cott, J. (2005). Conversations with Glenn Gould. University of Chicago Press.

Hecker, T. (2008). Glenn Gould, the vanishing performer and the ambivalence of the studio. Leonardo Music Journal, 18, 77-83.

Kingwell, M. (2009). Extraordinary Canadians Glenn Gould. Penguin Canada.

Sanden, P. (2009). Hearing Glenn Gould’s body: corporeal liveness in recorded music. Current Musicology, (88), 7.