Dame Evelyn Glennie

Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007 Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. As one of the most eclectic and innovative musicians on the scene today she is constantly redefining the goals and expectations of percussion by creating performances of such vitality they almost constitute a new type of performance.

Since graduating with an Honours degree from the Royal Academy of Music, London in 1985 at the age of 19, Evelyn gives more than 100 performances a year worldwide, performing with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists. Her diversity of collaborations include visual mixing of live music with the likes of DJ Yoda and the ‘Beat Boxer’ Shlomo. She is also creating new challenges through her collaboration with the Dance Choreographer Marc Brew as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Other collaborations include Nana Vasconcelos, Kodo, Bela Fleck, Bjork, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, Emmanuel Ax, Kings Singers, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Fred Frith and the Taipei Traditional Chinese Orchestra. Evelyn was a featured solo performer in the opening ceremony of the Deaf Olympics in Taipei in 2009. She was also guest performer in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. In July 2012 Evelyn was honoured to take a lead role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. In collaboration with Underworld Evelyn led 1000 drummers for the world premiere of ‘And I will Kiss’ and also premiered Caliban’s Dream’ on a newly developed instrument called the ‘Glennie Aluphone’ accompanying the lighting of the flame.

Evelyn is the leading commissioner of around 170 new works for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers. As a triple GRAMMY award winner and BAFTA nominee Evelyn is in demand as a composer in her own right and records high quality music for film, television and music library companies. The film Touch the Sound and her enlightening TED speech remain key visual & audio testimonies to her world of sound creation knowledge and understanding. Her most recent film score was Golf in the Kingdom released in the USA in 2011.

Experience based on presenting two series of her own television programme (Soundbites) for the BBC and several radio programmes led to regular appearances on television across the world, including The David Letterman Show, Sesame Street, The South Bank Show, Songs of Praise, Wogan, This is Your Life, Through the Keyhole, The Des O’connor Show, 60 minutes, PBS Profile, Sky Arts Music Room, The Commonwealth Games Concerts and Zingzillas demonstrate an incredible journey by an extraordinary woman who continues to develop and evolve.

Evelyn’s solo recordings, which now exceed 30 CDs, have earned her three GRAMMY awards: one for her interpretation of Bartók’s ‘Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion’, another for her premiere recording of Corigliano’s perucssion concerto ‘Conjurer’ and one for ‘Perpertual Motion’ – a collaboration with Bela Fleck. An additional nomination was received for her recording of Schwatner’s Percussion Concerto. Both ‘Shadow Behind the Iron Sun’ and ‘Sound Spirits’ continue to be best selling albums that amply demonstrate the brilliant improvisational skills of this ground breaking performer. As a successful author she wrote her autobiography at the age of 24 and has written articles for Tom Tom Magazine for female drummers and remains a keen lobbyist for change and improvement in the world of music education. As an eminent global activist in the world of motivational speaking her message is delivered loud and clear on ‘How to Listen’ to a variety of diverse corporate companies, key educational institutes as well as public and private events. Read more, click here

Photo 1 by Rachel Blackwell
Photo 2 by MikeBlake/Reuters
Photo 3 by Jim Callaghan