Primary Wave: Engineering A Glenn Gould Comeback Tour

The celebrated Canadian pianist, who died in 1982 and famously detested live performances, is destined to join an elite group of deceased musical performers who are being returned to the stage using holographic technology.

Primary Wave: Engineering A Glenn Gould Comeback Tour

By David Farrell

Yup, you read that correctly.

The celebrated Canadian pianist, who died in 1982 and famously detested live performances, is destined to join an elite group of deceased musical performers who are being brought back to the stage using holographic technology.

Among this growing pantheon of late-great who have either hit the boards or will shortly do so are Ronnie James Dio, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Tupac, Frank Sinatra,k Abba, Michael Jackson, Billie Holliday, and opera singer Maria Callas.

Hard facts about a Gould holographic tour remain sketchy but US-based independent Primary Wave Music Publishing, which acquired the publishing and master royalties, as well as the rights to his name and likeness from the Gould Estate in 2017, announced the fact in a recent New York Times feature.


At the time of the acquisition, Primary Wave founder and CEO Lawrence Mestel stated that "his innovative approach to music interpretation and his use of technology made acquiring his catalogue an easy choice for us and we look forward to furthering the legacy of this legendary artist."

Faye Perkins, an advisor to the Estate of Glenn Gould, thinks the celebrated Canadian piano man would have liked the idea of his digital reincarnation.

“I think that there’s a misconception about Gould and performance,” Perkins said in an e-mail to FYI this week. “After he quit the concert stage in 1964, he created some of his most provocative works through CBS Masterworks, CBC and a couple of other broadcast outlets. He preferred to perform through electronic media. Now, with the advent of a hologram, people will be able to have dedicated and phenomenal listening experiences.  I am thrilled with this turn of events.”

It's an idea shared by music critic Peter Goddard who expansively examines the great Bach interpreter in his recently published Dundurn biographical portrait, The Great Gould.  In fact, the author is enthusiastically onside with the estate wanting to refresh the Gould image, arguing that "classical music needs new technological input,"  assertively adding that "I'm sure (holography) would be a breakthrough."


Primary Wave will roll out more facts shortly, but for now, a company spokesperson relays in an  e-mail that “it’s all in the early stages, so nothing to confirm or announce yet.”

Gould's return to the concert stage is part of a revolution in an evolving technology that is reinventing corporate presentations, live entertainment, gaming and medical science. Tony Robbins has learned to use existing technology, enabling him to be in two places at once using virtual technology. It means speaking engagements on two continents in two auditoriums. Venture capital has seen the future, and soon so will we.

Supplementary Reading

Life after death: Musicians are coming back to the stage thanks to holographic technology – CNBC

Top-ranked holographic companies – Venture Beat

Eyellusion is a hologram entertainment company focused on the live music market – Eyellusion Live

The future of holographic technology will flip almost every industry on its head – Richard van Hooijdonk

30 years after his death, Roy Orbison is going on tour again – Billboard


Ronnie James Dio hologram plots world tour – Rolling Stone

From holograms to headliners – how Gorillaz’s inventive live shows have transformed – NME

Inside the shady world of the musical hologram – Noisey

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