Tag Archives: LC Honors

Leonard Cohen Receives Glenn Gould Prize Tonight

Massey Hall is the site of tonight’s celebration of Cohen’s accomplishments and the latest acknowledgement of his work – The Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert in Honour of Leonard Cohen.

As the official press release explains,

The Glenn Gould Prize, valued at $50,000 (CDN), has been referred to as “The Nobel Prize of the Arts” and is awarded biennially to a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts.

Cohen will not only accept the Glenn Gould Prize but will also present the associated City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize of $15,000 (CDN) to Sistema Toronto, a program that offers free, intensive music education to children from culturally diverse neighbourhoods.

Tonight’s program will be hosted by Colm Feore and features Anjani Thomas, Basia Bulat, Adam Cohen, Cowboy Junkies, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, James McMurtry, Gordon Pinsent with Travis Good & Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo), John Prine, and Serena Ryder. Guest speakers and readers include The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Melissa Auf der Maur, Michael Ondaatje and Alan Rickman. The Musical Director is Neil Larsen.

As of yesterday, tickets were still available.

Credit Due Department: Photos by Arlene Dick of Arlene’s Leonard Cohen Scrapbook.

Leonard Cohen Glenn Gould Award Ceremony – Another Prize, Another Gala

"I love to speak with Leonard"

Cowboy Junkies, John Prine, Adam Cohen, Adrienne Clarkson To Honour Leonard Cohen At Glenn Gould Prize Gala

The announcement that Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, novelist, icon, and ace award ceremony speaker, had won the Glen Gould Award was made public one year ago.1 At that time, Cohen sent this message thanking the Glenn Gould Foundation.

It is a great honour, sweetened by my love of the work of Glenn Gould and our collective appreciation of his invigorating and enduring presence in the world of music and imagination.

Now, Leonard Cohen will be recognized as the Ninth Laureate of The Glenn Gould Prize Monday, May 14, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. at what is being officially billed as The Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert in Honour of Leonard Cohen, with the festivities to be held at Toronto’s Massey Hall.

The star studded [official adjective] event will be hosted by Colm Feore and will include musical performances by Cowboy Junkies, Adam Cohen, Serena Ryder, folk singer Basia Bulat, award-winning country singer/songwriters John Prine, James McMurtry, Jimmie Dale Gilmore; and poetry readings by Gordon Pinsent with Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo) and Travis Good (the Sadies). Former Governor General and long-time Cohen friend, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson will also deliver a spoken tribute. Prior to the Gala Concert, a celebratory dinner will be hosted at the newly renovated Arcadian Court.

Tickets to this bash go on sale to the general public on April 12 at 11:00 a.m. (Details below)

The Glenn Gould Prize & Leonard Cohen

The following is taken directly from the press release:

The Glenn Gould Prize, valued at $50,000 (CDN), has been referred to as “The Nobel Prize of the Arts” and is awarded biennially to a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts.  After accepting his Prize, Mr. Cohen will present The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize of $15,000 (CDN) to an outstanding young artist of his choice.

A master songwriter, musician, poet, novelist and visual artist, Leonard Cohen’s stunning body of original work has touched the lives of millions with a career spanning six decades. His dual careers in music and literature have continued fueling each other over the decades – his songs revealing a literary richness rare in the world of popular music, and his poetry and prose informed by an intense musicality.  Cohen’s Book of Longing (2006), a collection of prose, poetry and drawings, was the first book of poetry to reach the top of Canada’s bestsellers’ lists, and formed the basis of a memorable musical and theatre collaboration with composer Philip Glass.

 Leonard Cohen is one of the most covered artists alive today, influencing generations of songwriters, and his music has earned the accolades of other artists in tribute albums in France, Norway, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, South Africa, and the United States. “Hallelujah”, one of Cohen’s best-known and best-loved songs has been covered by over 150 artists including Willie Nelson and Bono.  His music has been extensively featured in films and on television.  Numerous documentaries, awards, and tribute albums acknowledge the far-reaching contribution Cohen has made to music.  He continues to refine and deepen his art, and as a musician he is constantly exploring new territory.

 Ticket Info

Tickets to The Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert in Honour of Leonard Cohen go on sale to the general public on April 12 at 11:00 a.m. and are available by calling 416- 872-4255 or online at masseyhall.com or roythomson.com. Proceeds from the gala concert support the ongoing work of The Glenn Gould Foundation.

 Prior to the Gala Concert, a celebratory dinner will be hosted at the newly renovated Arcadian Court.  Tickets are available online at vipgouldprize.eventbrite.ca or by calling 416-962-6200.

 Glenn Gould 80th Birthday Celebration

The Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert and Dinner preface the 80th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth on September 25, 2012, which will be marked by major commemorative events across Canada and around the world honouring this Canadian icon’s enduring contribution to music and global culture.

 The Glenn Gould Foundation honours Glenn Gould’s spirit and legacy by celebrating brilliance, promoting creativity and transforming lives through the power of music and the arts with the Foundation’s signature activities, including The Glenn Gould Prize. The international award is presented biennially to a living luminary who has made a unique lifetime contribution through the arts.  The Foundation seeks to use the prize to stimulate projects of social impact and significance, as is reflected in its motto: From Celebration to Inspiration to Transformation.  Nominations for the prize are made by the general public and a laureate is subsequently chosen by an international panel of judges who convene in Toronto for deliberations.  A tribute to Glenn Gould’s artistry and his multifaceted contributions to culture, the prize promotes the vital connection between artistic excellence and the transformation of lives.  Past laureates include Dr. José Antonio Abreu (2008), founder of El Sistema, Venezuela’s free music education program for children and youth, Pierre Boulez (2002), Oscar Peterson (1993) and Yo-Yo Ma (1999).  For more information on the foundation, prize and laureates visit www.glenngould.ca .

DrHGuy Editorial Note: In honour of the intensely Canadian flavour of  this story and because, heck, some of my best friends are Canadian, I am making a conscious, vigourous effort to rigourously defer to the spelling favoured by our neighbour to the north when writing about the Glenn Gould Prize.  Toward this end, I have doubled this blog’s usual order of the letter “u” and also increased our reserve of doubled consonants. In all candour, it may be gruelling to change my lifelong spelling behaviour, and I can only hope that the inevitable errors do not give more than meagre offence or cause any nationalistic sabre rattling.  The results should be marvellous – or macabre. In any case, it will be a labour of love.

Credit Due Department: In the photo atop this post, the sculpture of Glenn Gould, located outside of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Studios on Front Street in Toronto, is by Ruth Abernethy. The image of Leonard Cohen is from the cover art of his Old Ideas album and is based on a photo by Kezban Özcan. The Glenn Gould prize statue, displayed halfway through the post, is also by Ruth Abernethy; it was found on the Glenn Gould Foundation site.

  1. See Leonard Cohen Wins Glenn Gould Prize []

The New & Improved PEN New England Leonard Cohen – Chuck Berry Song Lyrics Award Medal

The Current PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Medal

Ongoing readers may recall yesterday’s post featured the medal (shown above) bestowed upon Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry as the first recipients of the Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award at the Kennedy Library ceremony on February 26, 2012.

The New & Improved PEN New England Lyrics Award Medal

As I noted in that entry, I grasp the notion of elegant simplicity, and a gold medal is a gold medal. Yet, I cannot help thinking that the medal might benefit from a modicum of embellishment.  And, given that the award is sponsored by an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” and that the award is for writing “lyrics of Literary Excellence” [emphasis mine], a word or two of text might not be out of place.

Compare the PEN Lyrics Award with some of the other prizes Cohen has won in the past few years.

Prizes awarded Leonard Cohen: PEN Lyrics, Prince Of Asturias, Grammy, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Glenn Gould, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

My personal assessment is that the PEN Lyrics Award medal seems a tad – oh, let’s go with “generic.” Heck, if nothing else, wouldn’t it be wise to engrave PEN New England’s logo on the medallion so that ten years from now, when Leonard Cohen’s grandchildren find it while playing in Grandpa’s attic, Grandpa can tell them which award it is?

The PEN Lyrics Medal Enhancement Project

Karen Wulf, who is the Director of PEN New England and who was good enough to send me the photo of the medal is no doubt unaware of my previous projects to revise and enhance  Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, concerts, ad campaigns, and  merchandise, including the Leonard Cohen Bobble Head Doll and the  Heart With A Companion T-shirt (which features the familiar Unified Heart logo attached to its own Cohentronics pacemaker).

Further, she is no doubt unfamiliar with my work on the McHenry County Seal.1

And she almost certainly was not knowledgeable about my own design that was selected for the prestigious Heck Of A Guy Order Of Leonard Award2 bestowed upon Albert Noonan, Arlene Dick, Maarten Massa, and Dean Engelhardt.
order-leonard-no-bus

Should Ms Wulf be reading this post, however, I suspect she will not, by now, be surprised to learn that Heck Of A Guy has drafted a New & Improved version of the Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award medal and offers that design to PEN New England – at no charge.

The New & Improved PEN Lyrics Medal

The first change was the obvious one – introducing text to the design. Clearly the “PEN New England” logo was appropriate.

Shortly after that was accomplished came the textual breakthrough. Rather than stick with the unwieldy “PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award,” why not revise the name to one that connotes quality but also sizzles, not unlike that heart Mr Cohen goes on about, the one that “goes on cooking, sizzling like shish kebab?”3  Thus evolved the “Leonard Cohen – Chuck Berry Song Lyrics Award.”

The next step proved more difficult. The impulse to add a bit of flash with precious stones proved to be one of those slippery slopes against which one is often warned these days.


The ultra-bling model was quickly rejected.

In any case, the original medal plus the new text actually looked pretty good – but, still, something seemed to be missing.

Then came the epiphany: the final problem wasn’t the medal; it was the ribbon. Once the ribbon was was replaced with more appropriate neckwear,

PEN New England’s Leonard Cohen – Chuck Berry Song Lyrics Award transformed into perfection.

Especially if, say, this guy wins next year.

  1. The story behind the decision to revise the McHenry County Seal and, eventually, to hold a seal design contest is summarized in The McHenry County Seal Slaughter and McHenry County Seal Wars.  All posts dealing with county seal designs can be found · []
  2. Yes, my design for the prize I created was selected by me. Who else was qualified? []
  3. “A Light-Hearted Apocalypse” by Tim de Lilsle (Independent, 12 October 1997) []

From The Exclusive Leonard Cohen-Chuck Berry Couture Line, The PEN Lyrics Award Medal

Looking For And At The PEN New England Lyrics Award Medal

Following an unrequited internet search for a closeup  image of  that medal Salman Rushdie and Paul Simon, as authorized agents of PEN New England, slung around the necks of Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry, respectively,  to designate them the recipients of the Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, I emailed Karen Wulf, Director of PEN New England, who graciously sent me the photo of the medal displayed below, which is, as far as I can determine, the only such image available online at this point.

So, if you spy someone  this season wearing this particular specimen of bling, you are fortunate enough to have set eyes upon either Leonard Cohen or Chuck Berry, who picked up this jewelry as the first winners of the PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award at the Kennedy Library ceremony on February 26, 2012.1

The New & Improved PEN New England Lyrics Award Medal

Now, I grasp the notion of simple elegance, and a gold medal is a gold medal. Yet, I cannot help thinking that the medal might benefit from a tad of adornment and, given that the award is sponsored by an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” and that the award is for writing “lyrics of Literary Excellence” [emphasis mine], the medal might do with a word or two of text.

On reading this observation, few ongoing viewers familiar with my previous projects to revise and enhance  Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, concerts, ad campaigns, and  merchandise, including the Leonard Cohen Bobble Head Doll and the  Heart With A Companion T-shirt (which features the familiar Unified Heart logo attached to its own Cohentronics pacemaker – shown below), will be surprised to learn that Heck Of A Guy plans to offer to PEN New England – at no charge – a New & Improved version of their Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award medal.
iunited-heart-pacemakerStay tuned.

  1. This identification paradigm assumes, of course, that the medal that comes into your vision was not purloined and that neither Cohen or Barry, both of whom have endured near-catastrophic fiscal straits in the past, have again come upon hard times and hocked the award. []

Qualities Shared By PEN Lyrics Award Winners Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry – Seniority, Bolo Ties, Cool Hats

The PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Cohen-Berry Criteria

In his acceptance speech at the Kennedy Library February 26, 2012, Leonard Cohen claimed he and Chuck Barry were chosen as the first recipients of the PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award1 on “the basis of seniority.”2

While others may be willing to take this at face value, that’s not how we roll at The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency.3

Consequently, while I hesitate to disagree with this site’s icon of choice, I am obligated to point out that he – and the many periodicals, broadcast stations, and online sites reporting on this event – have inexplicably overlooked two other rather obvious attributes common to both him and the Father of Rock and Roll that were either coincidences on a cosmic scale or, one must assume, weighed in the judges’ decision to confer this honor upon them:  their respective signature hats and, of course, their bolo ties.4

And the perfect accessory to set off those bolo ties and hats?

Yep, a big ol’ shiny medal from those nice folks at PEN New England.

How To Win The PEN Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

So, for all you aspiring PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award winners, Heck Of A Guy offers these recommendations based on the Cohen-Berry Criteria:

  1. Do not, advice from The Who notwithstanding, die before you get old.
  2. Wear a hat that fits your style.
  3. Drape a nifty bolo tie around your neck.
  4. Write exquisitely evocative song lyrics.
  1. Wouldn’t you think that an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” could come up with a name for their prize that flows off the tongue more trippingly than “The PEN New England  Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award?” []
  2. Seniority in songwriting may not an altogether displeasing notion for Leonard Cohen, who has previously stated his preference for songs featuring voices of experience. In an interview with Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone in 2001, for example, he said,

    Have you heard George Jones’ last record, Cold Hard Truth? I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation. [emphasis mine] []

  3. The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency is a privately-funded organization dedicated to the rectification of inaccuracies promulgated by Leonard Cohen, no small task given the Canadian singer-songwriter’s admission that “I don’t want to let  the facts get in the way of the truth.” The most recent previous Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency post is available at The Case Of Suzanne Vs Volvo. []
  4. See Up Close With Leonard Cohen And His Bolo Tie []

Photos, Videos, Audio Of Leonard Cohen PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

  • This Post: Above: A happy Leonard Cohen accepts the first  PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony. Below: Shawn Colvin performs Leonard Cohen’s “Come Healing.” Both photos by Taylor Hill.
  • Photos: Many more photos can be viewed at Photos – Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry PEN Lyrics Award Ceremony, February 26, 2012
  • Videos:
    • Update: Maarten Massa has uploaded a video of the complete program:

Bonus: Who Was There, Who Sent Messages

  • Notables Present At The Ceremony included
    • Leonard Cohen
    • Chuck Berry
    • Salman Rushdie
    • Paul Simon
    • Caroline Kennedy
    • Al Kooper
    • Keith Richards
    • Elvis Costello
    • Shawn Colvin
    • Tom Perrotta
    • Bill Flanagan
    • Peter Wolf
    • Asa Brebner
    • Peter Guralnick
  • Notables MIA included
    • Bono1
    • Roseanne Cash2
    • Bob Dylan3

 

  1. Writing songs in South America []
  2. Celebrating what would have been her father’s 80th birthday; sent a letter saying that if Cohen had only written the one line — “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” — he’d have been worthy of the honor []
  3. Sent letter of congratulations: “To Chuck, the Shakespeare of rock and roll, congratulations on your award, that’s what too much monkey business will get ya . . . and give my regards to Leonard Cohen, the Kafka of the blues, and Lord Byron Keith if he shows up.” []