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Experimental Percussionist Performs with GR Symphony

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The Grand Rapids Symphony presented Scottish Visions as part of the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series on January 8 & 9. The performance included a special guest appearance by experimental percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Glennie is renowned for her trailblazing work in symphonic percussion and is often referenced as the world’s first female soloist in the genre. Glennie has forged ahead despite becoming hearing impaired at the age of twelve. She works with and understands sound by its vibrational nature, referring to it as ways of hearing with your body.
Glennie’s performance was characterized by dramatic showmanship balanced with grace. Musical movements ranged from delicate sounds on bongos, rhythmic patterns tapped out on the marimba, to resounding blasts from bass drums. Playing on a wide array of instruments – marimba, bongos, vibraphone, kettle drums, and many more – Glennie produced a new world of sound. She played the vibraphone with a bow against its strike plates, she beat on a gong as she submerged it in water held in a copper kettle drum body. She seeks our new ways of making sounds and in the process over her twenty year career she has worked with symphonies around the world, composers, and filmmakers.

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