Friday February 23, 2018 10:33 pm

First Lady of Percussion


“I play exhaust pipes.”

glennie-wall2Glennie of course masterfully plays all the conventional percussion instruments (the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, drum kit, snare drum, cymbals, timpani, wood blocks, temple blocks, chimes, cowbells ,tambourines, tam tams, gongs) and is an accomplished performer on a wide variety of ethnic instruments (the congas, bongos, timbales, djembes, bodhrans, log drums, gamelan, wind gongs, rain trees, maracas, shakers, guiros, shekeres, pandeiros, claves, steel pan, cup bells, daiko drums).

The list of articles in her more than a thousand strong arsenal goes on to enumerate instruments of her own design: the cymbal tree, pieces of scaffolding, the simtak which is a car muffler played with triangle beaters, “Glennie’s Garbage”- her own line of “trashy sounding” cymbals welded from sheet metal are now being marketed by the major cymbal manufacturer Sabian.

Below is a video playlist of Evelyn Glennie showcasing her vast array of percussion instruments.

Instrument guide with Evelyn Glennie

Instrument guide with Evelyn Glennie

In this narrated slideshow, Evelyn Glennie talks about and demonstrates several of her most unusual and remarkable instruments.

Read the full article here:

Evelyn Glennie Showcases Percussion on Radio 2

Evelyn Glennie Showcases Percussion on Radio 2

Evelyn Glennie joins Simon Mayo as part of Radio 2′s 2Day.

Evelyn Glennie & Aluphone

Evelyn Glennie & Aluphone

Evelyn Glennie interview about the Aluphone


In any one performance, Glennie can be playing up to fifty different instruments which may include flower pots, kitchen utensils and other ordinary objects. She can create music on virtually anything, given her ability to summon sounds, from the ethereal to the shattering, by using a wide spectrum of striking tools, styles, and techniques with the appropriate amount of force and speed.

xylophoneGlennie’s performances transport her to five continents, encompassing more than 110 concerts per season. She has also produced 12 solo recordings (see Discography) that have sold successfully worldwide.

“I am a physical player and I think about the whole presentation,” she says. Rather like a high priestess officiating liturgy perhaps. Percussion playing, particularly when it involves tens of drumming surfaces and a zoo of mallets and strikers, cannot help but be more physical than belting out a trumpet cadenza, say, or vigorously bowing Paganini on a violin. Reviewers of Glennie’s performances come close to exhausting the relevant English vocabulary in describing her stage persona and the “glorious ruckus she creates”.

Primal percussion sounds new to the ears of western culturati and unleashes the normally inhibited visual-kinesthetic dimensions of musical performance. Evelyn Glennie on stage, a “hypnotic figure” playing with “elfin delicacy” or “frenzied abandon”, “her feline, leotard-clad presence darting gracefully in and out of the huge battery of instruments, “pounding, caressing, whacking, striking the familiar and the exotic”, with stunning “stamina, dexterity, strength, sheer musicianship”, “blazing speed”, “sharp rhythm”, “staggering control and range of dynamics”, “dazzling intensity”, “tremendous emotional firepower”. She “drums like a whole highland battery”, “not only plays powerfully and masterfully but also evokes magic and poetry”, “combines artistic insight, rhythmic assurance and more than a splash of theatrical bravado”. Her “virtuoso playing- athletic as well as musical” creates a “range of sounds and resonances that sends shivers down the spine” and gives one a “visceral thrill”. The “total Evelyn can be overwhelming to watch”, Diana Burgwyn of Symphony
Magazine writes.

Need we say any more?
- © Victoria B. Cajipe / FanFaire 2000

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