Percussionist and composer Dame Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music.

Why you should listen

Dame Evelyn Glennie's music challenges the listener to ask where music comes from: Is it more than simply a translation from score to instrument to audience?

The Grammy-winning percussionist and composer became almost completely deaf by the age of 12, but her hearing loss brought her a deeper understanding of and connection to the music she loves. She's the subject of the documentary Touch the Sound, which explores this unconventional and intriguing approach to percussion.

Along with her vibrant solo career, Glennie has collaborated with musicians ranging from classical orchestras to Björk. Her career has taken her to hundreds of concert stages around the world, and she's recorded a dozen albums, winning a Grammy for her recording of Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and another for her 2002 collaboration with Bela Fleck.

Her passion for music and musical literacy brought her to establish, in collaboration with fellow musicians Julian Lloyd Weber and Sir James Galway, the Music Education Consortium, which successfully lobbied for an investment of 332 million pounds in music education and musical resources in Britain. 

What others say

“Evelyn Glennie is simply a phenomenon of a performer.” — New York Times

Evelyn Glennie’s TED talk

Evelyn Glennie on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Evelyn Glennie

If we see someone in a wheelchair, we assume they cannot walk. It may be that they can walk three, four, five steps. That, to them, means they can walk.
Evelyn Glennie
TED2003 • 2.9M views Apr 2007
Inspiring, Jaw-dropping