“Against Impossible Odds” tracks three extraordinary musicians over five years to discover how they inspire courage in themselves and others. We see the electrifying Evelyn Glennie the world’s first and foremost solo percussionist, incidentally profoundly deaf and told she couldn’t be a musician, watch the indomitable Eric Ewazen who also teaches at Julliard told he couldn’t make a living as a composer of serious music, and meet the conductor JoAnn Falletta, told at Julliard “Women can’t be conductors” as they come together to premier Eric’s Percussion Concerto "Banks of Ayr" April 17, 2010 with Evelyn Glennie and the Buffalo Philharmonic under Maestra JoAnn Falletta called by the New York Times one of the finest conductors of her generation. Though a world premiere rarely gets a second performance in less than two years—-if ever-—two months later, thanks to a phone call from JoAnn Falletta to the Artistic Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, we follow Evelyn and Eric to Scotland for the European Premiere in June in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Afterward, we join Evelyn at a Scottish school in route to her home for a day and discover her plans for the future of the piece in Canada and elsewhere, then return with Eric Julliard, and JoAnn at home and with the Buffalo Philharmonic that commissioned Eric to write a trombone concerto for the 2011 season, discovering repeatedly the many ways each continues to inspire others.
The entire documentary is framed by city school children who appear in the middle as audience during rehearsal meeting with Evelyn and Eric after, brought to the Buffalo Philharmonic and to horse farm by their music teacher, by extraordinary coincidence, a fellow student of Eric’s at Eastman where they collaborated on musical. What we witness in the students at the beginning and end with their music teacher is their visual transformation of interior states we experience from shy, even sulky to confident, inspired and inspiringly engaged with their world and others.