Toronto upgrades the Glenn Gould voice school

Toronto upgrades the Glenn Gould voice school


norman lebrecht

January 09, 2019

Much excitement at the Glenn Gould School, wing of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

They have secured Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka to be head of the vocal department this spring, a huge boost to the school’s professionalism and prestige.

Canada is making a lot of the running in the next generation of classical musicians.

Read here.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    That was a chocking headline (”Glenn Gould Voice School”) at first sight…

  • Karl says:

    It’s still an unaccredited school with little to no cultural credibility aside from Koerner Hall which is sadly attached to it. It is a business first and foremost aimed at draining wallets of people who think they’ll get a quality cultural education. Calling it a “school” is fairly cynical. Also, adding a famous Canadian artist to the stupidly named “Royal” conservatory is the most aptly Canadian thing they do. Anglo Backwater Conservatory of Misnomers would be more apt.

    • Albert says:

      Toronto is only impressive on paper. There’s a lot of cultures living there, it has a high index of livability and lots of amenities. Only when you get there do you see. The subway is expensive, impressively clean and pretty much goes in two directions. Rents are ridiculously high for what one gets and people are being priced out of the market by slum lords and the children of rich parents. Most of said cultures (non English descendant whites) live on the outskirts in one of the inner suburbs or in poverty stricken neighbourhoods. Museums and institutions are incredibly expensive to visit and when one goes to a concert they are usually rather unimpressed with the combination of bad halls, like Roy Thompson, and the aging orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony, Canadian Opera and National Ballet. The Four Seasons hall is very nice, but alas, prohibitively expensive for the average person to see a production.

      • V.Lind says:

        Are you saying that the artists of the TSO, the COC and the National Ballet are all older than the norm?

        • Albert says:

          I would say it’s a general North American problem where there is no retirement age, but when I am in Toronto to see a concert or opera, the orchestras do decidedly look “aged” and unfortunately, sound so. I recall a few years back, one chap playing first violin in the Toronto symphony, in particular who looked as if he was in between sleeping on his instrument and pantomiming playing.

      • buxtehude says:

        Interesting. What cities are you comparing it to?

        • Albert says:

          ..these are observations from extensively visiting and living there for a period of time over some years. As far as a comparison of North American cities, it could be the most expensive for what’s available to the person paying. Not much bang for the buck. The museums are impressive on the outside, but don’t have large or extensive collections and are very expensive to get into in comparison to what’s available in Los Angeles, New York, Boston or Chicago. It’s a city that has inflated it’s population to double over 20 years, but done very little to make it more interesting to an that public. It’s just glass condos and overpriced coffee

      • Straussian says:

        I am continually astounded by the nastiness of the comments on Slipped Disc – it seems to bring out the worse in the supposedly musically knowledgeable readers. What has Toronto the city got to do with the new appointment of Adrianne Pieczonka? If you want to attack Toronto the city, do it somewhere else!

        • Bruce says:

          In my experience as a professional musician, classical music fans can be some of the nastiest, most snobbish people you’ll ever meet. Most of them are nice, but the unpleasant ones are world-class.

    • Straussian says:

      Totally astonished by the mean-spirited and vitriolic comment. What do you mean it’s “unaccredited?” RCM has produced many fine musicians over the decades, among them Jon Vickers, Teresa Stratas, Angela Hewitt, Jan Lisiecki, Russell Braun, Lois Marshall, and Glenn Gould himself. No cultural credibility? Are you serious? These are very fine musicians that RCM should be proud of. You seem to be against the use of the word “Royal” – if you are an anti-Monarchist, don’t bring your personal political bias into the discussion of a music school! First and foremost, a nasty comment like this only reflects poorly on the person making the comment.

    • Mark says:

      As an alum of the Royal Conservatory, I can tell you that the school does an enormous amount to ensure that their programs are accessible to students all over Canada. In addition, it is my understanding that the Glenn Gould School offers a large amount of scholarship to essentially every student. I can’t speak to it’s accreditation but that certainly hasn’t kept many alumni from having very successful careers.

  • Roberta Alexander says:

    Absolutely love this news. Those students (and the conservatory) are so fortunate to get an artist so gifted, technically astute, and savvy about the business! Lucky students, and congratulations to Ms. Pieczonka.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      I am curious. Does she have teaching and administrative experience that means she is suited to the role? I am guessing, she must be more than just “a great singer” to take this position. Unless, of course, the main reason she has been hired is to act as a figurehead?

      • Straussian says:

        She teaches masterclasses frequently. Just last week, she was Artist-in-Residence at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, where she taught masterclasses and sang Winterreise. As far as I know, she has no administrative experience, only pedagogical ones. But then I don’t think admin expertise is required or expected in her role.