Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society was presented to Evelyn Glennie at the Wigmore Hall, London, on Friday 25 September 2015, in recognition of her outstanding services to music, as a pioneering percussionist and a passionate advocate for music education.
The presentation was made by RPS Chairman, John Gilhooly, during the launch of the report Musical Routes: A Landscape for Music Education.
Evelyn Glennie is the 138th recipient since the first honorary membership was made to Carl Maria von Weber in 1826 and the first percussionist to receive the award. Illustrious Honorary Members have included Rossini (1839), Brahms (1882), Clara Schumann (1887), Stravinsky (1921), Aaron Copland (1970) and Lady Evelyn Barbirolli (2001). More recent recipients include founder of El Sistema José Antonio Abreu (2008) and Marin Alsop (2014).
In its full citation the Council of the Royal Philharmonic Society said:
“Evelyn Glennie is the first person in western musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She has fired the enthusiasm of audiences, engaged a whole new generation of performers, actively campaigns for music education and is constantly redefining our expectations of percussion. She has also demonstrated forcibly that it is possible with a serious hearing impairment to perform music at the highest possible level and in so doing she has given us a completely different understanding of how we listen.
Her advice to young people is to “grab on to any opportunity that comes your way, but also to practice the art of creating your own opportunities”. No one has proved that more forcibly than Evelyn herself. She a great ambassador for music and an extraordinary role model for all performers striving to achieve their goals.”