Evelyn Glennie was just an eight-year-old Scottish lass with a knack for music when she began to go deaf. By age 11, she needed a hearing aid, and doctors told her father she'd never be able to pursue her beloved music. Touch the Sound, a documentary brilliantly directed and edited by Thomas Riedelsheimer, demonstrates just how wrong those doctors were. Glennie grew up to be a Grammy®-winning percussionist, and the documentary follows her from New York to England to Tokyo to an abandoned factory in Germany where she records an improvised CD with fellow musician Fred Frith. Everywhere she makes music, using everything from drums to a xylophone to chopsticks and stiletto heels. Making music obviously transports Glennie, who plays with fierce concentration and an expression of childish delight. With a supportive father and sensitive teachers, as a child Glennie dispensed with the hearing aids and began to touch the sound, quite literally. "Hearing is a form of touching," the profoundly deaf musician says in her lilting Scottish burr, recounting how she learned to use the body as "some kind of resonating chamber" to detect "minute differences" in the vibrations she felt. Pondering the sound of silence in a Japanese rock garden, Glennie opines that the opposite of sound is definitely not silence; it's the closest thing she can imagine to death.
Thomas Reidelsheimer studied documentary film at the Academy for Film and Television in Munich from 1984-1991. He has also worked as a writer, director, and cameraman in Germany and abroad, given lectures on cinematography, and is a partner in Filmquadrat, a Munich-based film production company. Riedelsheimer has won several major film and television awards, such as the German Filmprize, the German Camera prize, several international film critics awards, and several awards at festivals such as San Francisco, Montreal, Leipzig, Locarno. His credits as director and director of photography include Rivers and Tides- Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, Metamorphoses or Sponsae Christi-The Brides of Christ. He lives in Munich with his wife and two children.