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  • Publication
    Creativity, Collaboration and Diversification: Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Evolution of Solo Percussion Performance
    (University College Dublin. School of Music, 2021) ;
    0000-0003-1303-4763
    Percussion transcends boundaries. It is beholden to no single culture, musical genre, social class or historical period. Its emergence as the defining sonority of contemporary music is arguably a metaphor for social change, cultural evolution and creative diversification. Metamorphosing from descriptors such as noisy, simplistic and primitive to terms including revolutionary, virtuosic and experimental, the trajectory of solo percussion can be interpreted as a utopian blueprint for a more inclusive and creative society. To any aspiring percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie is a source of inspiration, synonymous with sound creation, expert listening and experimentation. She is the world’s first full-time solo percussionist and her contributions to the evolution of the discipline cannot be overstated. This thesis is a study of the role played by Dame Evelyn Glennie in creating, sustaining and diversifying the remit of solo multi-percussion performance. It is also an interrogation of ‘the other’ in relation to epistemologies linked to music, gender and disability. As a female in a traditionally male discipline, Glennie’s multi-faceted career demonstrates the changing status of women in the arts and entrepreneurship. The fact that Glennie is profoundly deaf further increases the importance of this research, since it necessitates a complete re-evaluation of the relationship between deafness and musical engagement. This thesis is about percussion, music performance, sound creation, experimentation and collaboration, but perhaps most importantly it is about reasserting how creativity is the means by which progress and innovation are promoted in both culture and society. Research is centred on the musical innovations of a deaf female virtuosic performer, but it is also concerned with addressing the urgent imperatives for gender equality and disability rights in an infinite spectrum of disciplines.
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