February 25, 2011

Dame Evelyn Glennie to lecture, perform at SIUC

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Dame Evelyn Glennie, described as the “first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist,” brings the stage presence and musical savvy that earned her the title to Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a four-day residency.

“Dame” is the female equivalent of “knight,” and is an honorific title meant to reward achievement.

For many, the highlight of her visit is her concert, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on March 7 in Shryock Auditorium. General admission is $22, students and senior citizens tickets are $9, and SIUC students get in free with a valid student ID. The SIUC Wind Ensemble and guest artist Robert Allison, associate professor of trumpet in the SIUC School of Music, join her.

Glennie will also deliver the annual Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture, honoring a former University vice president and provost. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. on March 5 in the Student Center Auditorium. The Tenney lecture is a free event. A book and CD singing follows the lecture.

Glennie performs the world over and with a truly varied array of musicians -- from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to DJ Yoda, from Emmanuel Ax to Bjork, Sting and Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch. She has stacks of recordings, commissions and awards, including the Dame Commander of the British Empire title, bestowed in 2007, induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame and honorary doctorates from several eminent universities in multiple countries.

One thing she doesn’t have is a pair of shoes for musical performances. Glennie performs barefoot, the better to feel the music. Feel the music, because Glennie is nearly completely deaf. Her experience of music is as vibration and touch. Bare feet on the stage help her better connect to the music, she says. She also says her deafness is not even a topic of consideration among her fellow musicians.

“Touch the Sound,” is a movie about Glennie’s musical sensibility and interpretation of the sonic realm. A screening of the film is part of Glennie’s residency. The film is being shown for free, beginning at 7 p.m. on March 4, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.

Glennie will also teach a master class while she is here.

Here is a list of events in calendar fashion for Glennie’s residency:

• March 4, 7 p.m., film screening, “Touch the Sound,” John C. Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library, free

• March 5, 7:30-9 p.m., Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture, Student Center Auditorium, free

• March 6, 2-4 p.m., School of Music master class, Altgeld Hall, Room 112, free

• March 7, 7:30 p.m., Dame Evelyn Glennie concert with the SIUC Wind Ensemble and Robert Allison, Shryock Auditorium.

According to her website, www.evelyn.co.uk, she is fond of Earl Gray tea, shortbread, and chocolate.

The Student Fine Arts Activity Fee helped bring Glennie to the SIUC campus. Other sponsors are: the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, University Bands, University Honors Program, and the Communication Disorders and Sciences program in the College of Education and Human Services’ Rehabilitation Institute.