Grammy-winning Scottish musician Dame Evelyn Glennie is considered the world’s permier solo percussionist. Her eclectic range of styles has been described as ‘exquisite, unique and equal to a musical feast.’ This year she was awarded the Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, known as the ‘Nobel Prize of Music’ in that country. The reason her 30 year career was honoured was because “Evelyn Glennie shows us that the body is a resonance chamber and that we live in a universe of sound.”
To put this into context, Dame Evelyn has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12. This has not inhibited her ability to perform. She regularly plays barefoot during her performances and studio sessions to ‘feel the music’ better and has taught herself to hear with parts of her body other than her ears. Her company’s motto is ‘Teach the World to Listen’ and she published Hearing Lesson to discuss her condition in response to inaccurate reporting in the media. In 2012 Dame Evelyn collaborated with Underworld on the soundtrack to the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games and performed live in the stadium.
The percussion legend returned to Proms this month with a lunchtime concert at London’s Cadogan Hall to celebrate her 50th birthday with a mesmerising musical party. I sent her this montage sketch to celebrate the occasion, which she signed.