Media release: Dame Evelyn Glennie is appointed as music charity’s new president as it heads towards its centenary


HELP Musicians, the independent charity, has today announced that Dame Evelyn Glennie has been appointed as its new president. Only the third president in the charity’s 99-year history, Dame Evelyn follows in the footsteps of Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, to become the first woman to hold the post.

Virtuoso solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie is a double GRAMMY winning, internationally-renowned performer, composer and collaborator working across multiple genres of music.

She is known as the first person to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, she played the first percussion concerto in the history of the BBC Proms in 1992, she led 1,000 drummers
in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games seen globally by over 900 million viewers, and she has commissioned over 200 new works for solo percussion from eminent composers and up-and-coming talent.

Dame Evelyn is also deaf and has, with the aid of her first percussion teacher, honed her awareness of sound to such a degree that she describes her body as ‘a resonating chamber.’

A previous beneficiary of the charity whilst training as a student, her musical talent coupled with her vision, innovation and determination makes her a role model to musicians of all ages and genres.

Graham Sheffield CBE, chair of the board of trustees, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Dame Evelyn Glennie into the Help Musicians family as our new president. Just like her two predecessors, Elgar and Maxwell Davies, Evelyn is a musical giant of her time. She is a trail-blazer, whose energy and musicality reach beyond
traditional boundaries to musicians and music-lovers of all genres. Help Musicians also reaches across all genres, offering a broad and innovative spectrum of support to empower musicians at all stages of their lives.

“Throughout her career Evelyn has demonstrated a unique ability as a communicator and inspiration. As we approach our centenary next year, we are honoured that she has joined us to help spread our key
messages around the development and welfare of professional musicians, as well as the importance and power of music.”

Dame Evelyn Glennie said: “It is a great pleasure for me to accept the position of presidency of Help Musicians. The incredibly important all-encompassing role Help Musicians have within the music industry is immense, whether through their cutting-edge research or their immediate call to action in drastic times as we are
presently experiencing.

“I’m looking forward to participating with the incredibly dedicated team in an exciting journey where the aims and ambitions are all about listening, making a difference, empowerment and allowing people to have a voice.
Help Musicians has such an exciting landscape and it is wonderful that the immense history and what lies ahead can be celebrated during the all-important landmark of the centenary celebrations in 2021.”


Notes for editors:

1. The appointment of president was made in March, but the announcement was delayed allowing the charity to deploy its initial response to the Coronavirus crisis.
2. The role of president is honorary, as is the role of our Patron HM The Queen. Statutory governance responsibilities sit with the chair of the board of trustees. However, the position of president is both symbolic and active; as well as embodying the charity’s ethos and ambition, the president will work with us regularly to help engage our supporters and beneficiaries.

About Help Musicians:

Help Musicians is an independent charity with an extraordinary history. For nearly 100 years, it has provided a broad spectrum of help, support and opportunities to empower musicians aged 18+, at any stage of their career or retirement, from times of great need to times of opportunity, providing a lifetime of support when it is needed most.

The charity is uniquely placed to take a personalised approach with each individual supported through its integrated programme that offers emerging and established professional musician’s assistance across health and wellbeing, business skills and creative development.

Help Musicians aims to make a meaningful difference to the lives of professional musicians and is passionate about creating a world where musicians thrive.

About Dame Evelyn Glennie:

Evelyn’s solo recordings, which now exceed 30 CDs, are as diverse as her career on-stage. ‘Shadow Behind the Iron Sun’, ‘Sound Spirits’ and The Core-tet Project continue to be the bestselling albums that demonstrate her brilliant improvisational skills.

She has collaborated with a broad range of artists, including Björk, Steve Hackett, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Fred Frith, Mark Knopfler, The King’s Singers, DJ Yoda, the Royal Shakespeare Company and… Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street.

Evelyn is a double GRAMMY award-winner and BAFTA nominee. She composes music for film, television and music library companies. The film ‘Touch the Sound’ and her enlightening TED speech remain key testimonies to her approach to sound-creation.

Evelyn was awarded an OBE in 1993 and was promoted to Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours. She now has over 100 international awards to date, including the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. Evelyn continues to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life. Her masterclasses and consultations are designed to guide the next generation.

Evelyn is currently embarking on the formation of The Evelyn Glennie Collection. The vision is to open a centre that embodies her mission to Teach the World to Listen.

She aims to ‘improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening as proven in her book ‘Listen World!’. We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower’.

Contact: Liz Stokes, communications and PR manager

Help Musicians
7-11 Britannia Street | London WC1X 9JS
T 0207 239 9137

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