Evelyn Glennie

Born: 1965

Occupation: Solo Percussionist and Composer

Challenges overcome: Hearing Impairment

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Dame Evelyn Glennie was born in Aberdeenshire in Scotland on 19 July 1965. Evelyn Glennie is the world’s first person to make a successful full time career as a solo percussionist. Her music has led Evelyn to perform worldwide in a number of genres, classical orchestras and collaborate with artists and composers, such as Bjorke. Evelyn has won a number of awards throughout her lifetime and also works on other projects, such as handmade designer jewellery. Evelyn’s passion for music has also helped her to revolutionise musical education establishments across the UK. When receiving rejection from the Royal College of Music in London during an audition because they couldn’t see a future for a deaf musician, Glennie questioned them on their entry requirements and why they accept people. When the college reconsidered and accepted her in, it opened the doors for disabled musicians across the UK to be able to audition for musical establishments and solely be judged for their musical ability, not their disability. Glennie also collaborated with Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd Webber to successfully lobby the Music Education Consortium, which brought a 332million pound investment to music education and music resources across Britain.

Being the first percussion concerto in The Proms back in 1992, Evelyn paved for the way for orchestras across the world to feature percussion concerto. Evelyn has over 30 solo recording CD’s that are diverse but continue to be best sellers that demonstrate Evelyn’s improvisation skills.

Evelyn has over 80 awards in her collection, for both her work as a performer as well as a composer. These include a triple Grammy Award and a BAFTA nomination for her composition work and a Polar Music prize for her performance work. In 1993, Evelyn was awarded an OBE and became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.
Wanting to continue to inspire and guide the next generation, Evelyn provides master classes and consultations to help others listen to help their everyday lives. Her vision is to teach the world to listen and Evelyn wishes to open up a centre to help with this mission, “to improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening. We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower”.

Challenges Overcome

Hearing Impairment

Evelyn began losing her hearing from the age of 8, and became profoundly deaf when she was 12 years old but she has never let this stop her pursuing her love of music and sound. Evelyn’s loss of hearing has brought her a deep understanding and connection to the music she loves.

“Life is full of challenges, but we can always find alternative ways of approaching our difficulties, which will often lead to new discoveries. My career and my life have been about listening in the deepest possible sense. Losing my hearing meant learning how to listen differently, to discover features of sound I hadn’t realised existed. Losing my hearing made me a better listener”.

Disability Definitions

Hearing impairment/Deafness

Hearing impairment or hard of hearing or deafness refers to conditions in which individuals are fully or partially unable to detect or perceive at least some frequencies of sound which can typically be heard by most people. Hearing loss is caused by many factors, including: genetics, age, exposure to noise, illness, chemicals and physical trauma. Deafness is defined as a degree of impairment such that a person is unable to understand speech even in the presence of amplification. In profound deafness, even the loudest sounds produced by an audiometer (an instrument used to measure hearing by producing pure tone sounds through a range of frequencies) may not be detected. In total deafness, no sounds at all, regardless of amplification or method of production, are heard.

Hearing loss. (2015, May 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:42, May 20, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hearing_loss&oldid=662664415

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