Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie, DBE was born on 19 July, 1965 in Aberdeen. Dame Evelyn is a Scottish virtuoso percussionist. Dame Evelyn was the first full-time solo professional percussionist in 20th century western society.

Dame Evelyn was brought up on a farm in Aberdeenshire near where she was born. Dame Evelyn’s father was Herbert Arthur Glennie, an accordionist in a Scottish country dance band, and the strong, indigenous musical traditions of north-east Scotland were important in the development of the young musician, whose first instruments were the mouth organ and the clarinet. Other major influences were Glenn Gould, Jacqueline du pr’e and Trilok Gurtu. Dame Evelyn studied at Ellon Academy and the Royal Academy of Music.

Dame Evelyn tours extensively in the northern hemisphere, spending up to 4 months each year in the United States, and performs with an extraordinarily wide variety of orchestras and contemporary musicians, giving over 100 concerts a year as well as master classes and ‘music in schools’ performances. Dame Evelyn frequently commissions percussion works from composers and performs them in her concert repertoire. To date, these original works include 53 concertos, 56 recital pieces, 18 concert pieces and 2 works for percussion ensemble.

In a live performance she can use up to approximately 60 instruments. Dame Evelyn also plays the G Great Highland Bagpipes and has her own registered tartan known as ‘The Rhythms of Evelyn Glennie’. Dame Evelyn is in the process of producing her own range of handmade jewellery and also works as a motivational speaker.

Dame Evelyn is the patron of many charities supporting a wide range of causes including the deaf and hard of hearing, young musicians and people with a variety of disabilities.

Dame Evelyn has been profoundly deaf – meaning that she has some very limited hearing – since age 12. This does not inhibit her ability to perform at the international level. Dame Evelyn regularly plays barefoot for both live performances and studio recordings, to better “feel” the music.

Dame Evelyn contends that deafness is largely misunderstood by the public. Dame Evelyn claims to have taught herself to hear with parts of her body other than her ears. In response to criticism from the media, Dame Evelyn published her now famous Hearing Essay in which she personally discusses her condition.

Dame Evelyn has also featured on Icelandic singer Björk’s album Telegram, performing the duet “My Spine” and she has collaborated with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin and Fred Frith.

On 21 November 2007, the UK government announced an infusion of £332 million just for music-education. This resulted from the successful lobby spearheaded by Glennie, Sir James Galway, Julian Lloyd Webber, and the late Michael Kamen; they formed the Music in Education Consortium in 2002/2003.

In 1994, Dame Evelyn married composer, sound engineer and tuba player Greg Malcangi, with whom she collaborated on several musical projects. They divorced in 2003 following her widely-publicised affair with Leonard Slatkin.

Dame Evelyn Glennie has won many awards, including:

  • Best Chamber Music Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1989.
  • Scot of the Year 1982.
  • Queen’s Commendation prize for all round excellence 1985.
  • Scotswoman of the Decade 1990.
  • Best Studio and Live Percussionist from Rhythm Magazine 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2004.
  • Walpole Medal of Excellence 2002.
  • Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year 2003.
  • Sabian Lifetime Achievement Award 2006.

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the recipient of 15 honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom, was awarded the OBE in 1993 and promoted to DBE in the New Year’s Honours of 2007.

Dame Evelyn owns over 1800 percussion instruments from all over the world and is continually adding to her collection.

  • Touch the Sound (2004). Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer, featuring a collaboration with Fred Frith

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Betty G. Miller

Betty G. Miller is both a professional visual artist, and a professional counselor working in the field of alcohol and drug abuse with deaf and hard of hearing people. Betty Miller holds an Ed.D. in art education from Penn State University; and is a certified alcohol and drug counselor (C.A.D.C., a certification formerly known as C.A.C., clinical alcohol counselor).

As a professional artist, she is nationally known for her expression of her deaf experience — a genre that has come to be named Deaf View/Image Art — De’VIA.

As a counselor, she has worked for over 20 years in the field, her primary area of focus being training. Betty Miller has given numerous workshops and training sessions for counselors working with deaf people.

Betty G. Miller is a nationally known as a Deaf certified alcohol counselor, and consultant. Betty Miller is the first deaf person to have a certification as an addiction counselor. Betty Miller has worked with Deaf persons with alcohol and drug abuse problems for the past 25 years.

Betty Miller’s expertise, training, and experience as a consultant cover various aspects of the field of alcoholism and substance abuse, such as education, training, counseling, consultation, aftercare, recovery, advocacy, and networking with the members of the Deaf community and substance abuse treatment professionals. Betty Miller was employed at Deafpride, Inc., Washington, D.C., working with Deaf persons in recovery for 7 years. Betty Miller provides training, advocacy and education to organisations in the Deaf community, schools and programs for Deaf youth, social services which work with Deaf people, and training to staff members of substance abuse treatment programs. Betty Miller has taught several courses on substance abuse and the Deaf community.

Currently, she is doing consultation, training, and private practice in counseling with recovering Deaf persons, families, and friends. Betty Miller is an author/illustrator of Deaf and Sober: Journeys through Recovery, published by the National Association of the Deaf, Silver Spring, MD.

Betty Miller is a professional Deaf Artist, well-known throughout the U.S.A. Betty Miller’s parents were also Deaf. Betty Miller has participated in many art shows, mostly in Washington, D.C. Betty Miller is primarily known for the visual representation of her Deaf experience, some of which has been published in Deaf Heritage by Jack R. Gannon.

Betty Miller’s first one woman show depicting the Deaf experience, entitled “The Silent World,” was held at Gallaudet College in 1972 when she was an Art Professor there. Later, in the ’80s and ’90s, she continued with her one woman and group art shows, with a theme of “The Deaf Experience.” These shows were held in Takoma Park, Maryland, 1989; at Gallaudet University, in 1989, 1990, and 1992; and in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC, and in Chicago, Illinois in 1992 and 1993.

Betty Miller’s art works were also exhibited in a a show that was the first of its kind in the USA: a group art show with 8 Deaf Artists, all of whose art work was related to their Deaf experience. This show was curated by Brenda Schertz and held in the Northern Essex Community College Gallery, Haverhill, Massachusetts, September, 1993.

October 1996, Betty Miller completed a neon artwork project for the North Carolina Arts Council titled “ASL: Past, Present, and Future.” The 16 ft wide by 6 ft high artwork can be seen in the lobby of the Student Activities Center at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, Wilson, NC.

When asked to explain the values behind her work, Betty Miller replied:

“Much of my work depicts the Deaf experience expressed in the most appropriate form of communication: visual art. I present the suppression, and the beauty, of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language as I see it, both in the past, and in the present. Oppression of Deaf people by hearing is actually cultural, educational, and political. Another aspect of my work shows the beauty of Deaf culture. I hope this work, and the understanding that may arise from this visual expression, will help bridge the gap between the Deaf world, and the hearing world.”

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