Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scottish Percussionist Evelyn Glennie

Meet Scottish composer and percussionist, the lovely, Evelyn Glennie (photos on Drummerworld). Wow, what a package. She is an amazing percussionist. I first heard her talk on TED. You can't tell she's is deaf by listening to her, either her words, or her speech.

The things she has to say are amazing, but they make so much sense once you hear what she has to say. Evelyn lost nearly all of her hearing by age twelve. Rather than having her deafness isolate her, it has given her a unique connection to her music and the world around her. She sought out the Royal Academy of Music in London. And got turned down. But, she turned the table on them and in the end, they did take her on. And her being there, changed how the institution related to and accepted or denied, students from then on. She is also the only musician in history to have made an entire career as a percussionist. 

Her diversity of collaborations have included performances artists such as Nana Vasconcelos, Kodo, Bela Fleck, Bjork, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, Emmanuel Ax, Kings Singers, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Fred Frith.

From her web site:

"Evelyn has commissioned one hundred and fifty new works for solo percussion from many of the world's most eminent composers and also composes and records music for film and television. Her first high quality drama produced a score so original she was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards (BAFTA's); the UK equivalent of the Oscars. 

"Out of the 25 recordings made so far, Evelyn's first CD, Bartok's Sonata for two Pianos and Percussion won her a Grammy in 1988. A further two Grammy nominations followed, one of which she won for a collaboration with Bela Fleck. Evelyn's twelfth solo CD, Shadow Behind the Iron Sun (BMG Records), was based on a radical improvisational concept and has once again questioned people's expectations. 

"The Evelyn Glennie brand is constantly exploring other areas of creativity. From writing a best selling autobiography, Good Vibrations, to collaborating with the renowned film director Thomas Riedelsheimer on a film called Touch the Sound, to presenting two series of her own television programmes (Soundbites) for the BBC, to regularly appearing on television across the world, which include The David Letterman Show (USA), Sesame Street (USA), The South Bank Show (UK), presenting and performing on Songs of Praise (UK), Commonwealth Games Festival Concert, This is Your Life (UK), 60 minutes (USA), PBS Profile (USA) and many more."

This woman is a force to be reckoned with. I highly recommend you check her and her music out. These are truly the types of people we need more of in this world. 

For more, visit A Conversation with Bruce Duffie.
Evelyn on Sesame Street.

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