A look back at Leonard Cohen’s inspiring body of work

In a star-studded gala at Toronto’s Massey Hall, songwriting legend Leonard Cohen was awarded with the 9th Glenn Gould Prize for his substantial contribution to the arts.

In memory of pianist Glenn Gould’s artistry and multifaceted contribution to culture, the award and $50,000 prize have been given out every three years since 1987 to an artist whose lifetime contribution has enhanced the human condition through the arts.

Leonard Cohen donated his $50,000 award to the Canada Council for the Arts.

The prize also comes with the opportunity to award an organization the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé $15,000 protégé prize – Cohen chose music program Sistema-Toronto, a program that offers free music education to kids in the Parkdale neighborhood, as the recipient.

Previous winners of the prestigious award include José Antonio Abreu, André Previn, Pierre Boulez, Yo-Yo Ma, Toru Takemitsu, Oscar Peterson, Yehudi Menuhin and R. Murray Schafer.

Canadian actor Colm Feore hosted the event, while performers like Leonard’s son Adam Cohen, Basia Bulat, the Cowboy Junkies, John Prine, Serena Ryder, James McMurtry, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gordon Pinsent, Greg Keelor and Travis Good covered some of Cohen’s songs. The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Melissa Auf der Maur, Michael Ondaatje and Alan Rickman took part in the celebration as well.

This tribute “is about us getting the chance to say thanks for his music, his attitude and for his graciousness. He’s taught us a lot, to be a good singer you have to have good songs. Leonard Cohen has always offered good songs,” Cowboy Junkies singer Maro Timmins told CTV.

Here’s a look back at some of his most memorable songs:

Famous Blue Raincoat

Chelsea Hotel No. 2



I’m Your Man


A Singer Must Die


Ain’t No Cure For Love

Bird On A Wire

First We Take Manhattan


Joan of Arc

Sources: Leonard Cohen Official Website, Glenn Gould Prize, Wikipedia, CTV, Toronto Sun