Whatever became of Glenn Gould’s chair?

Whatever became of Glenn Gould’s chair?


norman lebrecht

October 13, 2018

Anyone who knows anything about the Canadian pianist knows that he was extremely particular about how he sat, generally much lower than other pianists at the keyboard.

When he died, on October 4, 1982, Gould left his iconic folding chair to the nation.

But was it the real chair? And is it the only one?

Our pals at Ludwig Van Toronto have been on a detective hunt to find the real Gould chair.

It all starts the day we get a phone call from a lady who tells us she has four previously unknown Glenn Gould chairs sitting in her basement. A mystery unfolds, launching us down a path towards uncovering some amazing secrets behind Gould and his beloved chair — arguably one of the most important pieces of furniture in music history. Over 5 episodes, we talk to those closest to Gould, as well as some experts to help us answer some big questions: Are these chairs the real thing? What’s the story behind them? And the biggest question of all: Why did Gould love this chair so much?…

Click here to explore the unfolding mystery.


  • Chris says:

    It was a chair!!.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    “A chair is still a chair; even when there’s no-one sitting there” (Bacharach/David).

  • There is one at the National Archives in Ottawa – you come out of the elevator to the fourth floor and there it is, under glass, in all its glory. I honestly didn’t know, and strongly doubt, that there was ever more than just the one.

  • There’s definitely more than one chair! It’s a crazy story — well worth listening for any Gould fan.

  • Dean Williams says:

    I believe that M. Hamelin is correct. When I went to the museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Canada about 15 years ago, (which is a stones throw from the National Archives) there was an exhibit about Glenn Gould. It included one of his pianos, a Chickering, and the aforementioned chair. It was not difficult to find. There was also a photo of him sitting in the chair at the keyboard. The exhibit also included his recording equipment, which I found to be quite interesting.

  • Rickster says:

    He may have had “other chairs” that he used, but there was only one chair that his daddy gave him and that he treasured.