Instrumentalist of the Year
"No percussionist - for that matter, no ensemble
of percussionists - has rivalled the accomplishments of Evelyn Glennie...
who is to the percussion world what Andres Segovia and Jean-Pierre Rampal
were to guitarists and flutists. Like those players, she has devoted herself
to showing listeners... that a concert on her instrument can be a supremely
musical event." - Musical America 2003
Into the millenium, the world's top solo percussionist continues to amaze!
She amazes with her superb musicianship. "Perpetual
Motion" (the title of one of her albums) personified, she yearly
brings her consummate artistry to audiences all over the world (her calendar
seems to leave no space for rest!), spritely flitting during performances
between percussion instruments of tradition and of her very own - not
in the shadowy rear of the orchestra but in the limelight of center stage,
producing sounds - sometimes familiar, sometimes of another world - that
never fail to mesmerize.
She amazes with her extraordinary sense of touch. Touching
is not only her way of playing her instruments; unlike for most of us,
it is her way of hearing. To her, hearing is "a specialized form
of touch." Sounds emanating from the orchestra vibrate as waves
through the air and she hears them as they reach and touch various parts
of her body, e.g., low tones as they touch her bare feet, high tones as
they touch her face. It is a way of musical communication uniquely her
own, and it works! The end result - performances that forever etch themselves
into one's memory, prized recordings that one can listen to in wonder.
She amazes with her sense of theater. It
tells her that music has colors and thus is a lot like painting, that
blending the aural with the visual brings a magical dimension to a musical
event. Evelyn Glennie is both percussionist AND performance artist. Thus,
she dons costumes, uses props, plays with lighting effects, makes surprising
stage entries - convinced that music is not compromised, indeed its enjoyment
is enhanced, when the concert hall magically transforms into music theater.
Nothing wrong with that! Especially when it expands the audience for classical
She amazes with her spirit of discovery and her talent
for invention. Today she has about 1500 percussion instruments
in her collection and often she plays two or three dozen in concert. Yet
for her insatiable mind the process of discovering and/or designing new
ones never stops.When early on she learned that works
for solo percussion were few and far between, she commissioned them and
today these works number over 100. These works have received their premieres,
with Glennie often working in close collaboration with the composers.
One of the latest is Margaret Brouwer's Aurolecent Circles which
premiered in Seattle in November 2002.She also composes
her own music which include music for film and television.And
thus the repertoire grows.
She amazes with her enthusiasm for music education. She conducts
masterclassesfor aspiring percussionists (see calendar).
And she offers $1000 music scholarships for children with hearing loss.
She is a believer in educating the public through the media, taking part
in radio and television broadcasts. Her media endeavors include: a Grammy-winning
CBS documentary on Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with
the late Sir Georg Solti, Murray Perahia and David Corkhill; Evelyn
in Rio, a TV documentary of her participation in the Rio Carnival
(released on video by Decca); two major documentaries on her life by BBC
and Yorkshire Television; performances in two episodes of BBC TV's Soundbites,
a musical travelogue of Korea (Great Journeys II series).
She amazes as a recording artist. She has recorded 16 solo albums
(her latest being Oriental Landscapes with the Singapore Symphony
Orchestra), and has won two Grammy awards (see discography).
This endeavor will continue as she explores ways to faithfully capture
the sound of live percussion on recording media - percussion is most difficult
to record, and her level of satisfaction has yet to be reached.
Listen to a clip from the CD Oriental Landscapes: Track
5 - "II. Summer" from Thea Musgrave's Journey through a
Japanese Landscape - Concerto for Solo Marimba and Wind Orchestra (Real
Player required. Download
She amazes as a human being - simple, unassuming, warm,
friendly, very accessible, humble, never full of herself, a happy soul
- blessed with, yet totally unspoiled by fame.
Is it any wonder that she is Musical America's Instrumentalist
of the Year? -JC, FanFaire2003