Evelyn Glennie is one of the most eclectic and innovative musicians on the scene today. A unique, riveting, informal and humorous speaker who wows her audiences with her accomplished style and talent as the world’s first Solo Percussionist. She draws on her amazing wealth of experiences (her profound deafness has been more of a hindrance to others than to her) using her skills as a musician and sound creator.
Dame Evelyn Glennie is constantly redefining the goals and expectations of percussion. The Grammy-winning percussionist and composer became almost completely deaf by the age of 12, but her hearing loss brought her a deeper understanding of and connection to the music she loves. By combining superb technique, a profound appreciation of the visual and her astonishing musicality, Evelyn creates performances of such vitality that they almost constitute a new type of performance.
Evelyn is profoundly deaf, and she doesn’t feel the need to make a big deal about it. After she lost her hearing when she was young, Evelyn spent a lot of time with her percussion teacher Ron Forbes, refining her ability to detect vibration. She can distinguish the rough pitch of notes by associating where on her body she feels the sound. Truth be told, Evelyn’s hearing is something that bothers other people far more than it bothers her. Since she is one of the world’s top international musicians, it must not make much of a difference to the orchestras, conductors, or venues.
Now also in demand as a keynote speaker Evelyn draws on her amazing wealth of experiences as an international performer using her skills as a musician and sound creator.
Evelyn speaks passionately about subjects including education, business and of course music. Her speaking engagements are defined as a “dialogue with a difference” using the medium of music to demonstrate and enhance the importance of our listening skills amongst the cacophony of modern day sounds.
With her unique perspective and outlook, an attitude to her ongoing and diverse career that doesn’t accept “no” to be an answer and a proven track record in educational and disability issues, Evelyn is as compelling a motivational speaker as she has proved to be a musician.
Evelyn has worked on a number of the ‘Trial and Retribution’ (Linda La Plante) Productions, collaborated with diverse composers such as DJ MJ Cole (Matt Cole), David Motion, Ray Davies from the Kinks, Steve Hackett and has worked with Fred Frith to provide the sound track to “Touch the Sound” – a film featuring Evelyn on the nature of sound. Other projects have included composing the music for the car manufacturer Mazda, which was subsequently paraphrased by comedians due to its unusualness. She has composed songs with the vocalist Bjork and created a totally improvised solo percussion CD Shadow Behind the Iron Sun in collaboration with the producer/mixer Michael Brauer. This then led to totally improvised live shows, not to mention compositions for solo marimba, a huge list of arrangements and transcriptions for percussion and a couple of educational books for classroom use called “Beat it!”.
Her career has taken her to hundreds of concert stages around the world, and she’s recorded a dozen albums, winning a Grammy for her recording of Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and another for her 2002 collaboration with Bela Fleck. Evelyn’s twelfth solo CD, Shadow Behind the Iron Sun (BMG Records) was based on a radical concept and has once again questioned people’s expectations. Despite working a relentless schedule Evelyn is in constant demand to release new recordings, nineteen so far, the three most recent being ‘The Music of Christopher Rouse’ (ONDINE), ‘Oriental Landscapes’ (BIS) and ‘Fractured Lines’ by Mark-Anthony Turnage (CHANDOS).
Her passion for music and musical literacy brought her to establish, in collaboration with fellow musicians Julian Lloyd Weber and Sir James Galway, the Music Education Consortium, which successfully lobbied for an investment of 332 million pounds in music education and musical resources in Britain.
The fact that Evelyn has performed with virtually all of the world’s finest orchestras and greatest conductors in the most famous concert halls only proves that Evelyn is one of the world’s top international concert soloists and the most in demand solo percussionist in the world.
Outside of actual performance Evelyn excels in everything to which she turns her hand. She has written a bestselling autobiography, Good Vibrations and hosted two series of her own television programs for the BBC. She has composed and recorded 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.
“Evelyn Glennie is simply a phenomenon of a performer.”
New York Times