Evelyn Glennie makes a full-time living as a percussionist. According to her site, “Evelyn is the first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist.” And she’s been profoundly deaf since age 12.
Her site doesn’t say much about deafness — and that’s fabulous only because it shows she wants people to recognize her as a talented percussionist. She speaks so clearly that I recognized some words without reading her lips. Here’s a Wikipiedia entry on Glennie.
She published her Hearing Essay. which explains why her office rarely mentions deafness in any press releases or on her site with the exception of the essay.
I hope that the audience will be stimulated by what I have to say (through the language of music) and will therefore leave the concert hall feeling entertained. If the audience is instead only wondering how a deaf musician can play percussion then I have failed as a musician. For this reason my deafness is not mentioned in any of the information supplied by my office to the press or concert promoters. Unfortunately, my deafness makes good headlines. I have learnt from childhood that if I refuse to discuss my deafness with the media they will just make it up. The several hundred articles and reviews written about me every year add up to a total of many thousands, only a handful accurately describe my hearing impairment.