Evelyn Glennie | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Evelyn Glennie


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A native of Scotland, Evelyn Glennie lost much of her hearing by age 12. Around the same time, with characteristic determination, she decided to take up percussion. Three years later she won a scholarship to attend London's Royal Academy of Music. By then she'd learned how to compensate for her disability. When performing with other musicians she relies on visual cues. To learn a piece she puts a tape recorder between her knees and lets the vibrations be her guide. Much sought after these days--especially since her appearances on the BBC and CBS--Glennie, who's only 29, gives about 120 recitals a year and records often. A 1989 CD of Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (with Georg Solti and Murray Perahia) won a Grammy; her latest, featuring fellow Scotsman James MacMillan's "Veni, Veni Emmanuel," is a noteworthy effort. Capitalizing on her popularity, Glennie's commissioned a number of additions to the still-thin solo percussion repertoire. Two of these are on the program for this recital. John McLeod's The Song of Dionysius (1989) is a deft exercise in overtones and harmonics, and Glennie's own Giles, scored for the marimba, is a choralelike eulogy to a deceased friend. Marimba also figures prominently in concerti by Paul Creston and James Basta (who served as White House organist in the 70s). The most challenging work Glennie has slated is the improvisational Michi by Keiko Abe, the Japanese marimba virtuoso with whom she apprenticed for a year. Pianist Philip Smith provides accompaniment for the concerti. Friday, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/courtesy of Perth Festival Australia.

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