SUNDAY

Evelyn Glennie, it seems, would just as soon you not know she’s deaf. The capsule bios in the Scottish-born percussionist’s liner notes and concert programs usually don’t mention that she had lost most of her hearing by age 12. (The drummer, a frequent guest artist with the National Symphony Orchestra, performs barefoot so she can feel the music’s vibrations.) Films usually do require a bit of narrative, however, and deafness is a crucial part of Glennie’s story. Yet director Thomas Riedelsheimer, who previously made Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time, is nothing if not discreet. In this 2004 documentary, Glennie (pictured) eventually mentions her deafness in the course of an interview and is seen teaching a class of hearing-impaired children. Mostly, though, the director observes Glennie at work and play, making music in collaboration with tap-dancer and choreographer Roxanne Butterfly, drummer Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez, Japanese taiko troupe Za Ondekoza, and foghorn exponent Jason the Fogmaster. Further connecting this portrait with Riedelsheimer’s previous one, Glennie is shown recording a improvisational session in an abandoned German factory with experimental guitarist Fred Frith, who created the score for Rivers and Tides. Like that film, Touch the Sound conjures the power of nature and near-silence, following Glennie through a Japanese Zen garden and her family’s farm in Aberdeenshire. It doesn’t take long, however, before Glennie once again kicks off her shoes and starts beating on whatever improvised percussion instruments are at hand. Touch the Sound screens at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)

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