Evelyn Glennie announces percussion performance at Chelsea

World famous solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie - who is profoundly deaf - has announced plans to stage a public performance at an acoustic garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

Artist's impression of the Together We Can garden. Image: Supplied
Artist's impression of the Together We Can garden. Image: Supplied

Dame Evelyn has teamed up with disability charity Papworth Trust on the 'Together We Can' garden, celebrating the charity's inclusive vision for disability.

It will be the first time the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has hosted an acoustic garden, billed as being the ultimate sensory, accessible outdoor space. The garden has been designed by Peter Eustance of Symphonic Gardens, a former gold medal winner at Chelsea, and is also supported by music students from Brunel University. It is being built by Landform Consultants.

Part of the inspiration for the garden comes from Dame Evelyn's interest in the 'sea music' produced by the women of Vanuatu, who create music using their hands, water and voices. A water marimba in the garden will generate an acoustic pulse, harnessing natural materials of the landscape – water, sun, wood, earth, and so the garden itself becomes a musical instrument.

Dame Evelyn will be 'playing' the garden in front of thousands of visitors during the last day of the Chelsea Flower Show – 28 May.

She said: "I wanted to use the subtleties of the garden and the elements of nature to bring
together something that is around us and part of our everyday life. I want people to look at the garden and see and feel an orchestra and then look at their garden or other gardens with a different viewpoint.

"One of my aims is to show that you can create music from almost anything. But the bigger legacy will be if we can recreate the concept of this type of garden in other public spaces."

Explaining how the idea of the garden came about, Helen Fairhurst, senior marketing manager at Papworth Trust, said: "We wanted to take the idea of a sensory garden to the next level and do something that had never been done before at Chelsea.

"We wanted to produce a garden that everybody could enjoy and one that could actually play itself – although Dame Evelyn is the wonderful conductor. Her performance will show the acoustic garden in all its glory and add depth to an already amazing garden."

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