Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 19

Here's a discovery: Dame Evelyn Glennie, professional solo percussionist.

Before her, a percussionist (drummer, xylophonist, etc.) would be part of an ensemble, band or orchestra. Growing up loving the drums, she noticed there were no solo percussionists in the way there are solo pianists or guitarists. So she created the job.
Her musical skills allowed her to advance to the Royal Academy of Music. From there, she focused on a solo career: searching for solo pieces to perform, commissioning performance pieces, until she became the world-traveling, Grammy-winning artist that she is today.

To explain just how much of a unicorn she is, perhaps I should add that she has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12. (No, she didn't read Oscar's lips.) She's learned to use the rest of her body to listen to her environment, so she hears her music, among other things, in a very different way.
In 2010, she received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Cambridge University, and she continues her worldwide crusade to move the percussionist's place from the back of the orchestra.
Here's a collaboration with Bjork, called "My Spine":

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