Two nights ago, prolific Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen recieved the Glenn Gould Prize in a decorated ceremony at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The prize, which recognizes an individual’s lifetime contribution for furthering the human condition through the arts, comes with a $50,000 reward, which Cohen immediately appropriated to Canada’s Council For the Arts as a generous donation. The prize also includes a $15,000 honor that the recipient selects. Cohen chose Sistema, a musical education program in Toronto, as this year’s winner.
In his speech, Cohen expressed his gratitude for the Council’s guidance with his earlier works in particular, claiming that he “never would have written The Favorite Game and The Spice Box of Earth” without their encouragement.
The ceremony also included a series of performances from Cohen’s son, Adam, as well as Cowboy Junkies and John Prine. Other notable speakers included actor Alan Rickman and former Canadian governor-general Adrienne Clarkson. The concert closed on a poignant note, with a crowd singalong of Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne.”
Cohen will embark on a European tour beginning on August 12th, and has recently announced a series of US dates in the fall. The tour will start in Austin, TX on October 31st in support of his latest album, Old Ideas. Check out the full list of tour dates here.