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Community and Internet Resources

Arts and Culture: Famous Musicians who Experience(d) Living with Disability

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music” Sergei Rachmaninov

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” Aaron Copland

"Rick" Allen (born November 1, 1963)

- "Before my accident I was a little too... selfish and self-absorbed and for me, to now be at the place where I can kinda give back and inspire people. I'm blessed. I'm really blessed. " - drummer for the English hard rock band, Def Leppard, artist, husband, - person with left arm amputation. Rick Allen lost his left arm in an accident in 1984 at the age of 15. It did not stop him though with the help from a (semi-)electronic drum kit, as the band was ready to sign a record contract and he continues to be the band, Def Leppard's, drummer. Visit Def Leppard/The Band/Rick Allen - Drums

New Sign

Evelyn Glennie

Famed classical percussionist Evelyn Glennie was born near Aberdeen, Scotland. At the age of 12, she became profoundly deaf due to nerve damage. Despite this severe handicap, Evelyn Glennie maintained her goal of becoming a classically trained solo percussionist. While in elementary school she learned to lip-read and also developed a technique for detecting musical pitch and volume. Standing on the outside of the practice room Glennie would place her hands on the walls and pay attention to the vibrations she felt. It was in this way that she was able to sense music. Following elementary school Glennie attended the Royal Academy of Music in London where she won many percussion competitions. Glennie also won many scholarships, including a Munster Trust Scholarship which allowed her to hone her percussion skills in Japan. Since that time Glennie has achieved worldwide recognition for her superb playing while performing with many great orchestras around the globe. She won a Grammy for her rendition of Bartok's "Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion" with Georg Solti, David Corkhill, and Murray Perahia, and has been featured in several BBC documentaries. Glennie has also received a few honorary doctorates and has collaborated with such diverse players as Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and Icelandic pop-star-diva Björk. ~ John Vallier, Rovi Watch and listen to her TED talk

Itzhak Perlman (born August 31, 1945)

is considered the greatest virtuoso violinist of our time. He is an extraordinary musician, husband, father, a person who survived polio. For more information, visit his website at Itzhak Perlman. On the evening of January 16th 2013, Itzhak Perlman performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a Special Program at the Performing Arts Center, downtown Milwaukee with Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. The experience of watching this virtuoso performer is thrilling and hearing his beautiful intonation and dynamic sound is inspiring. What you may or may not know about Itzhak Perlman is that he has used his talent to actively campaign and raise money for Rotary International for the fight to end polio from the world. What you may not realize is that Itzhak Perlman is also a survivor of polio, he requires braces to walk, and plays the violin seated. Visit our article about Itzhak Perlman’s Milwaukee performance and the fight to eradicate polio by Rotary International.

Teddy Pendergrass (1950-2010)

"There is a need to assist those with SCI (Spinal Cord injury) to become or return to being productive members of society." - American R&B/soul singer and songwriter, founder of the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, an organization for people with Spinal Cord Injury, - a person with parapalegia.

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[Updated August 31, 2015]
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