The chair of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) perhaps gained as great a reputation in the music world as the pianist himself. The 14-inch tall wooden folding chair was built in 1953 by Gould’s father, Russell Gould, for his son to use at the piano. Since then, The Chair would be a faithful companion to Gould for twenty-one years of performances and recordings.
A twenty-one year-old chair would not see good condition. In fact, Gould absolutely refused to have his chair repaired or reupholstered; the padding wore out, the legs were sawn off, and eventually only a single plank of wood was left on the seat of the chair.
Still, Gould refused to play while sitting on anything else. Everywhere the musician went, his chair went alongside him. Today, Gould’s precious folding chair, in all its glory, rests behind glass at the National Library of Canada.
Gould: It [the chair] is a boon traveling companion, without which I do not function, I cannot operate. It has been with me for 21 years.
Monsaingeon: Do you mean it’s been as close a companion to you as Bach has been in your musical career?
Gould: Oh, much closer, actually.