Dobbin Scholar, Karishmeh Felfeli – Glenn Gould Research

March 6, 2013


In her research on Glenn Gould, Karishmeh Felfeli  (Dobbin Scholar 2012), visited Library & Archives Canada & Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Arising from this research, Karishmeh will be giving a seminar in UCD at 3pm on the 3rd of April, in room J308, UCD School of Music. All are welcome to attend.

The title of her seminar is “Radio as Music? The Convergence of Landscape and Soundscape in Glenn Gould’s The Quiet in the Land


Here is an excert from her report to the ICUF board, posted here with thanks to Karishmeh;

Thirty years after his untimely death in 1982, the iconoclastic Canadian pianist Glenn Gould continues to be remembered not only as one of the greatest musicians of all time, but as a prolific writer, broadcaster, philosopher and technophile.  Despite this extraordinary posthumous fame, and the unprecedented scholarly attention devoted to Gould, his painstakingly fabricated ‘compositions’ for his favourite medium, the radio, remain something of an enigma even for those familiar with his recordings of piano music and his musicological writings.

As a doctoral student of music at University College Dublin, where I am studying under the supervision of Professor Julian Horton, as well as a pianist and radio-broadcaster, my own scholarly interests and professional achievements served as ideal preparation for this research project.  As part of my proposed trip, I wanted to undertake research at the National Library and Archives, Ottawa and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Archives, Toronto where audiovisual and unpublished archival materials pertaining to Glenn Gould’s work as a radio broadcaster/composer are held.

Even though I have devoted a large portion of my professional career to promoting Gould’s legacy in Ireland via lecture-recitals at the National Concert Hall, and radio broadcasts on RTE Radio 1 and 103.2 Dublin City FM, undertaking exhaustive research in Canada without any financial constraints or logistical difficulties has always proved to be impossible, especially given Ireland’s present-day economic fragility.

With the backing of University College Dublin, the Estate of Glenn Gould, 103.2 Dublin City FM and, most importantly, the generous financial support offered by the Ireland-Canada University Foundation, I had the opportunity to embark on this research trip, as recipient of the prestigious Craig Dobbin Scholarship. I was expecting this to be a productive trip, but I was completely  astonished at just how much relevant (and undiscovered) material awaited me. If my work in Ottawa involved a careful study of documentary evidence on microfilm, the CBC Archives in Toronto were a treasure trove of a very different sort. Assisted by the Head of CBC Radio Archives, Ken Puley, I spent most of my time listening to outtakes, field-recordings, demos and unedited versions of Gould’s radio compositions for the CBC. I had to work hard and fast to transcribe any relevant segments (including those taken from Gould’s other radio broadcasts) that could back up my hypotheses on his contrapuntal compositions, given that nearly everything contained in the CBC Archives can only be accessed if one is physically present.

The Dobbin Scholarship has provided me with the documentary and audio resources I require to consolidate and disseminate my academic research on Glenn Gould. I have already been invited to present a seminar as part of the University College Dublin, School of Music Seminar Series in Music Analysis. In addition I am also producing another documentary on Gould, which will stem out of this research trip for 103.2 Dublin City FM so that my work as a Dobbin Scholar can make an impact to those outside academia, many of whom may have never heard of this legendary artist.

I cannot thank the Ireland-Canada University Foundation enough for supporting the work of scholars like  myself. Without the generosity afforded by the Dobbin Scholarship, I would have never been able to experience a research trip that has been the most extraordinarily productive undertaking of my scholarly and professional career so far.

Karishmeh Felfeli School of Music, University College Dublin

For more information, visit Karishmeh’s Glenn Gould Project Website and Blog