Music: Singing Mahler to the Elephants

A new biography explores the eccentric genius of Glenn Gould

Among the few modern concert performers whom even the tone-deaf have heard of, none is more intriguing than the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould -- not only because of his electrifying reinventions of Bach's Goldberg Variations, among other pieces, but also because of the strikingly eccentric artistic creation that was his life. Who could forget the singular genius who shuffled about on summer days swathed in mufflers and overcoats (because of his hypochondria), and in concerts sat himself down on a pygmy chair and proceeded to sigh, groan, sing and wave his hands about as he played? Who could resist the story...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!