The independent London newspaper

Sweet sounds that vanquish silence

15 December, 2017

Jill Jarman and pupils of Frank Barnes School

JILL Jarman and her father Donald used to fight for the piano stool at their home. Whoever won could tickle the ivories to their heart’s content.

It used to be a bit like that in the small house I grew up in – the piano was king of the front room!

Jill, known in academic circles as Dr Jarman of Chichester University, or Jill Jarman on the concert hall circuit, must have “won” most of the contests for the piano stool because she’d become an accomplished pianist by her teens and later an established classical composer.

She has written many orchestral and ensemble pieces over the years but, perhaps, the piece she has composed for a special concert at the Platform Theatre in King’s Cross next Friday – December 22 – will be the most significant.

Evelyn Glennie with a young music fan

It will be performed with Dame Evelyn Glennie a famous percussionist who uses her senses as “ears” following the loss of her hearing at 12.

Evelyn Glennie was appointed as “musician in residence” for the new “city” of King’s Cross a year ago.

She, along with Jill, spent a day a few months ago at Frank Barnes School, many of whose pupils are hard of hearing. In a kind of a masterclass Evelyn Glennie showed the children how she is able to hear music through vibrations and after several hours the children played a two-minute piece of music.

The concert on December 22 will premiere a piece of six movements for an ensemble, entitled Echoes from the Birdcage. Performers on sax, clarinet and flute with percussive interpretations by Evelyn Glennie and Jill Jarman at the piano will create a kind of tone poem portraying the sounds and life of the new King’s Cross, once a notorious slum area, now a “creative quarter”.


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