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Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie, DBE (born July 19 1965 in Aberdeenmarker), is a Scottishmarker virtuoso percussionist. She was the first full-time solo percussionist in 20th-century western society.


Evelyn Glennie was brought up on a farm in Aberdeenshiremarker near where she was born. Her father was Herbert Arthur Glennie, an accordionist in a Scottish country dance band, and the strong, indigenous musical traditions of north-east Scotland were important in the development of the young musician, whose first instruments were the mouth organ and the clarinet. Other major influences were Glenn Gould, Jacqueline du Pré and Trilok Gurtu. She studied at Ellonmarker Academy and the Royal Academy of Musicmarker, and was also a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.


Glennie tours extensively in the northern hemispheremarker, spending up to four months each year in the United Statesmarker, and performs with a wide variety of orchestras and contemporary musicians, giving over 100 concerts a year as well as master classes and "music in schools" performances. She frequently commissions percussion works from composers and performs them in her concert repertoire.

She also plays the Great Highland Bagpipes and has her own registered tartan known as "The Rhythms of Evelyn Glennie". Glennie is in the process of producing her own range of handmade jewellery,[36161] and also works as a motivational speaker.


Glennie has been profoundly deaf since age 12. This does not inhibit her ability to perform at the international level. She regularly plays barefoot for both live performances and studio recordings, to better "feel" the music.

Glennie contends that deafness is largely misunderstood by the public. She claims to have taught herself to hear with parts of her body other than her ears. In response to criticism from the media, Glennie published Hearing Essay in which she personally discusses her condition.


Glennie featured on Icelandic singer Björk's album Telegram, performing the duet "My Spine". She has collaborated with many other musicians including former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Fred Frith and The King's Singers.

On 21 November 2007, the UK government announced an infusion of £332 million for music education. This resulted from a successful lobbying spearheaded by Glennie, Sir James Galway, Julian Lloyd Webber, and the late Michael Kamen, who also (in 2002/2003) together formed the Music in Education Consortium.[36162]

Personal life

In 1994, Glennie married composer, sound engineer and tuba player Greg Malcangi, with whom she collaborated on several musical projects. They divorced in 2003 following her widely-publicised affair with orchestral conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Awards and recognitions

Glennie has won many awards, including:
  • Best Chamber Music Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1989
  • Scot of the Year 1982
  • Queen's Commendation prize for all round excellence 1985
  • Scotswoman of the Decade 1990
  • Best Studio and Live Percussionist from Rhythm Magazine 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2004
  • Walpole Medal of Excellence 2002
  • Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year 2003
  • Sabian Lifetime Achievement Award 2006
  • Hall of Fame PAS – November 2008

She is the recipient of fifteen honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom, was awarded the OBE in 1993 and promoted to DBE in the New Year's Honours of 2007.

She owns over 1800 percussion instruments from all over the world and is continually adding to her collection.


  • Rhythm Song (1990)
  • Veni, veni Emmanuel (1993)
  • Shadow Behind the Iron Sun (1999)
  • The Sugar Factory [Feat. Fred Frith] (2007)


  • Touch the Sound (2004). Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, featuring a collaboration with Fred Frith. The farm where she grew up burned down during the production of the film, but her brother, Roger (who is featured in the film), and the animals, were unhurt.


  1. News
  2. 2007 honours list, BBC website

External links

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