Bazzana, Kevin 1963-
BAZZANA, Kevin 1963-
PERSONAL: Born July 27, 1963, in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Education: Attended University of Calgary and Okanagen College; University of Victoria, B.Mus., 1988; Stanford University, M.A., 1989; University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D., 1996.
CAREER: Musicologist, writer, editor, and lecturer. Beethoven Journal, editorial assistant, 1990-92, 1999; University of Victoria, lecturer, 1993—;. GlennGould (magazine), editor, 1995—; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, program annotator, 1996—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Canada Council creative writing grants, 1998, 2003; Toronto Book Award for Nonfiction, 2004, for Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould.
Author's books have also been translated into Japanese, German, Italian, and French.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A biography of Hungarian pianist-composer Ervin Nyiregyházi (1903-87), tentatively scheduled for publication in 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Kevin Bazzana is considered one of the foremost experts on the life and works of reclusive Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. The editor of GlennGould magazine, Bazzana has written two critically acclaimed works on the musician: Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work—A Study in Performance Practice, published in 1997 and based on his Ph.D. dissertation, and Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould, published in 2004.
With Glenn Gould, Bazzana presents a detailed musicological study of Gould's performances, and in so doing, places Gould's career into a broader historical context. Bazzana not only examines the aesthetic philosophy that informed Gould's approach to music performance but also details specific features of his piano technique, drawing on the Glenn Gould archive at the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. Booklist's Alan Hirsch commended this aspect of the book, noting that the author "artfully describes each of Gould's techniques and how he used it to achieve his unique performance style." Timothy J. McGee, writing in Library Journal, called Bazzana's book a "detailed critical study" of the pianist and not simply "another biographical tribute." Tim Page, writing in the Washington Post Book World, deemed it a "fine" volume that explores, "with rare acuity, Gould's artistic philosophies and the manner in which they were put into practice." Page went on to observe that Bazzana "examines Gould's contradictions with a judicious mixture of sympathy and rigor."
Bazzana continues his investigations of Gould in the biography Wondrous Strange, the "most balanced" of the many biographies on the pianist, according to a critic for the New Yorker. Ivan Hewett, writing in New Statesman, called Bazzana's approach a "rounded portrait" by a person "eminently qualified to write [Gould's] biography." Bazzana deals with Gould's eccentricities, but also lays to rest some of the gossip about the pianist's sexuality. The New Yorker contributor called Bazzana a "keen deflator of myths" for this aspect of the book. Employing comprehensive interviews with friends and colleagues, as well as research in the archives, Bazzana "wisely and skillfully" follows a middle path in his biography, as Paul Griffiths wrote in Nation, by avoiding a caricature image of Gould as either "an inhibited homosexual or a hermetic straight man, a wonder or a clown, a tragedy or a triumph." For Guardian Unlimited contributor Edward Greenfield, "Bazzana's narrative and character study over a vast span reflects the allure of Gould himself." Greenfield went on to note that, "Very well documented, [Wondrous Strange] makes a compelling study even for the non-devotee." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly reviewer found Bazzana's work an "engaging biography that will captivate classical music lovers and casual listeners alike." More praise came from Library Journal's Larry Lipkis, who commented that the "author's tone is sympathetic but by no means uncritical, and his prose is lively, witty, and often quite elegant." Lipkis concluded that this volume "will replace earlier biographies" of Gould.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1997, Alan Hirsch, review of Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work—A Study in Performance Practice, p. 604; April 15, 2004, Alan Hirsch, review of Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould, p. 1415.
Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, July-August, 2004, John Mitzel, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 40.
Library Journal, December, 1997, Timothy J. McGee, review of Glenn Gould, p. 107; June 1, 2004, Larry Lipkis, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 136.
Nation, June 14, 2004, Paul Griffiths, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 15.
New Statesman, October 11, 2004, Ivan Hewett, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 53.
New Yorker, June 14, 2004, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 192.
Publishers Weekly, April 19, 2004, review of Wondrous Strange, p. 53.
Washington Post Book World, March 22, 1998, Tim Page, review of Glenn Gould, p. 8.
City of Toronto Web site,http://www.city.toronto.ca/ (November 9, 2004), "Toronto Book Awards, 2004."
Guardian Unlimited,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (June 12, 2004), Edward Greenfield, review of Wondrous Strange.
Oxford University Press Web site,http://www.oup.com/ (November 9, 2004).