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The Eighth Prize 

Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate

2008 - Dr. José Antonio Abreu, Venezuela

Photo by John Reeves

Dr. José Antonio Abreu, the promoter, builder and founder of the National System of Young Peoples’, Children’s and Pre-school orchestras of Venezuela has been recognized internationally as a visionary. Born on May 7th, 1939 in Valera, Venezuela, he showed musical and artistic sensibilities from an early age and began studying music while he was very young. A brilliant career as a planner and economist followed, with many prominent appointments and positions. He founded the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and became its permanent conductor. Since then, he has devoted his life to Venezuela’s musical young people. Today, the results of his tireless labor can be seen around the world, where the Venezuelan model of musical education has been adapted in over 20 countries. Maestro Abreu has been recognized world-wide for his outstanding work and is the recipient of many prestigious international awards.

Listen to Dr. Abreu's acceptance speech from the Celebration of Music week (2009) on our Audio page. 

The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize

2008 - Gustavo Dudamel, Venezuela

Gustavo Dudamel has been hailed as one of the most exciting and compelling conductors of our time. Born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began studying violin at an early age and learned conducting as a youth. At age 18 he assumed the Music Director position of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and began conducting studies with José Antonio Abreu, the Orchestra’s founder. Brought to international attention by triumphing in the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2004, Dudamel has received many prestige awards and recognition for his work. Recently named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009, he has been featured twice on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Maestro Dudamel will begin his tenure as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in fall 2009, while continuing as Music Director of the Gothenburg Symphony. Perhaps best known as Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, his infectious energy and exceptional artistry have made him one of the most sought-after conductors by orchestras around the world.

Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Jury

Ben Heppner (Canada)
Ben Heppner is recognized worldwide as the finest dramatic tenor before the public today excelling in the most challenging roles and acclaimed for his beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship and sparkling dramatic sense. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire. 
Mr. Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia, where he first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Company Talent Festival.  He is a 1988 winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and is both a Grammy Award winner and a Juno Award recipient, and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Hélène Mercier (Canada/France)
Hélène Mercier began her piano studies at the age of six in Montreal, and quickly won recognition for her skill and talent. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards and has performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Hélène Mercier is a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.

Anthony Minghella (United Kingdom)
Anthony Minghella was 
an Academy Award-winning British film director, playwright and screenwriter, best known for his film adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (1996), which won more than 30 international awards.  Working in television, script editing, writing, and as playwright, he won the recognition of his peers with many prestgious awards, and held Honorary Doctorates from the University of Hull (1998) the University of Southampton (2000) and the University of Bournemouth (2001).  Mr. Minghella was appointed a CBE in 2001.

Janice Price (Canada)
Janice Price brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the performing arts arena to her newly appointed position of CEO for Luminato.  She has held a number of senior positions in the arts in Canada and the United States.  Ms. Price is a past board member of the Toronto Dance Theatre and Vice President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America and continues to participate in the arts community as a member of the board for the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA).

Peter Schickele (USA)
Composer, musician, author, satirist—Peter Schickele is internationally recognized as one of the most versatile artists in the field of music.His works, now well in excess of 100 for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, voice, movies and television, have given him “a leading role in the ever-more-prominent school of American composers who unselfconsciously blend all levels of American music.” (John Rockwell, The New York Times).

Paul Hoffert, Chair of the Jury (Canada)
Paul Hoffert is a Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation.  Click here for his biography.

The Glenn Gould Prize Celebration of Music Week

Click here to read news postings and articles about the spectacular Celebration of Music week in October 2009, honouring Dr. Abreu.

Click here to view the galleries.

Click here for fact sheets in the Media Resources.

Souvenir Gala Concert programs are available for $10 CDN for shipping in Canada.  Email for your copy or international inquiries.

Study Guide to El Sistema

Download the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra Study Guide


The Glenn Gould Foundation thanks our generous sponsors without whose support The Glenn Gould Prize Celebration of Music would not have been possible.