At the age of 6 Evelyn Glennie contracted mumps which affected her hearing. From then on she gradually became increasingly deaf. But by the time she was twelve she had already decided on a career as a musician.
But the path she chose to take was her own as she found herself drawn to the huge family of percussion instruments and the varied techniques needed for playing them. She was not interested, however, in the brief chances to shine available to a jobbing orchestral percussionist. From the start, and against most advice she was determined to build an international reputation as a solo percussionist.
In this episode of our one-to-one interview podcast, Dame Evelyn talks to Ian Macrae about her enthusiasm for the instruments she has chosen to make her own, the choices she made and battles she faced in making them and how she set about building a repertoire more or less from scratch. She also reveals which of all the instruments she plays is her favourite and explains why the acoustic garden she’s been involved in designing for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show isn’t made up of bamboo poles and wind chimes.
Presenter and Producer: Ian Macrae