This was inclusion at its best. World-renowned percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie, in performance with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. The flow of musical synergy among the disparate players was achieved by using key sensory cues for an orchestral harmonisation that received a prolonged standing ovation at its conclusion.
Conductors have a visual role in sound orchestration, after all. Glennie, deaf since the age of 12, plays in bare feet to sense the full range of musical notes from her own percussion instruments and from the surrounding orchestra.
As she played on this occasion, the concentration showed on her face as she directed her attention between the instruments, Diego Masson the conductor and the vibrations emanating from the stage floor. Exactly as in her video, “How To Listen To Music With Your Whole Body“, Glennie was clearly using all her senses to generate the required music pitches for her performance.
Best of all, the mainly teenage audience at the NCH that night will realise that hearing issues are no barrier to personal achievement, and are likely to be inspired towards their own goals. Today’s teenagers, as tomorrow’s future leaders, need experiences like this to understand diversity in civil society.