Celebrating Half a Century

With 2015 fast approaching, Evelyn Glennie gives us a glimpse of one of her projects. A calendar that features a selection of her instrument collection. Here’s a short interview to let you know a little more about it.

Why a calendar? How did you come up with the idea? Why 2015?

A good quality calendar is something to cherish, not just for the given year but forever. More so when it is personalised.

I wanted to create a simple but poignant calendar that is almost like a piece of art. One that gives a little glimpse of my life as a solo percussionist and an even smaller glimpse to my ever growing instrument collection.

2015 is my 50th anniversary, half a century, can you believe that? I have never been one to celebrate birthdays but this time is different: I will also be completing 30 years since being a fully pledged professional musician. All reasons that led me to believe that a calendar would be a good way to celebrate each month of 2015.

Is there a reason for you to choose the instruments portrayed?

All of my instruments are special but my first ever snare drum [which I was given at the age of 12 by my parents], my first pair of drumsticks and first practice pad all hold a special place for me. They represent the beginning of this musical journey and I still cherish them to this day.

I chose the Aluphone, for instance, because this was one of the most recent instruments to be developed and one that I believe is fast becoming a standard instrument in the percussion world, already with major composers writing for it. Bells and drums because they are found all over the world, making them easier for people from all walks of life to relate to the beautiful visual aspect of those instruments. And, due to my fascination with creating new instruments from old materials, I also wanted to feature my drawer of “toys”, since they’ve always been present in my life as an important aspect to percussion – as children we are usually given a rattle or something that creates a sound and it wasn’t different with me!

Were you the one deciding the month the instruments should be associated with? If so, how did you make those decisions?

Yes, I was clear that my first ever snare drum would ‘open’ and ‘close’ the year, due to its sentimental value. Apart from that, I was mainly thinking about the materials and sounds that the instruments make in order to represent the different months and seasons. The Aluphone’s shape and colour, for example, represent a cold feel which is why it features in February. The toys, on the other hand, being full of fun and bright colours embody a warm feeling making them perfect for July. As for the bells, they somehow transport me to Christmas Season [am I the only one?], making them perfect to illustrate November.

Within every page of the calendar you will find a brief story about the instrument displayed and what it means to me. This is the result of a very intimate processes, one that I am now sharing with you. A little journey within my life’s journey.

How often do you play these instruments?

Some more often than others. The ones that I find myself playing the most would be the Aluphone, the Waterphone, Toys, Bells and, of course, the snare drum. But rest assured that none of them sits on a shelf long enough to gather dust!

Where and when can we find the calendar?

You can find it here, both signed or not:www.evelynglennieproductions.com/c/11/gifts

How much is it?

£25 without an autograph and £30 for the signed version.


Images: © Ian MacMichael (used by kind permission)

Share this Post

2 Comments on “Celebrating Half a Century”

  1. Hello, I am an interpreting student at Spartanburg Community College. This is my last semester and yesterday I was asked to come and help interpret at your talk on Feb. 12, 2015, “Dialogue with a Difference”. In hopes that I will not embarrass myself or my teacher I have been looking over your YouTube videos and reading your essays. I am enjoying them and your story. You inspire me and I am excited I will be in your audience. I am sad to say that I do not know much about percussion instruments even though I am 64 years old. But its never to late to learn.

    1. Dear Anita, it is people such as yourself that are truly inspirational, always pursuing knowledge and forever eager to learn. How extraordinary! Please do make sure to let me know who you are on Feb. 12, so that I can properly thank you for this lovely message.
      Looking forward to meeting you!

Leave a Reply