By Susie Allen
Award-winning carillon performer and composer Joey Brink has been selected as the next University Carillonneur. His appointment begins in October.
As part of this key ceremonial role, Brink will perform for all major University events and deliver daily recitals on the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon at Rockefeller Chapel. In addition, Brink will introduce University students to the art of playing the instrument, offering tryouts to those who are interested and training a studio of ten toward proficiency as carillonneurs.
“The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon is an integral part of Rockefeller Chapel and of the University as a whole. At occasions both solemn and joyful, the sound of its 72 bells brings our campus community together,” said Elizabeth Davenport, dean of Rockefeller Chapel. “In Joey Brink, we have found a deeply gifted musician, composer and teacher to shape the future of this extraordinary instrument.”
Brink began his carillon training as an undergraduate at Yale University, from which he holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering. His thesis focused on the design of realistic-touch practice carillon keyboards.
After his graduation from Yale in 2011, Brink was awarded a Belgian-American Educational Foundation fellowship to study at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium. He continued to teach and perform carillon while pursuing an MS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah.
Brink received the first prize and audience prize at the 7th International Queen Fabiola Carillon Competition—widely considered the most prestigious carillon competition worldwide—in 2014. He has also published nine original carillon compositions, and has written imaginative music for carillon students at all levels of study.
Brink is a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs of North America.
“I am incredibly honored to become the sixth University Carillonneur,” Brink said. “In addition to getting in shape by climbing 542 steps each day, I am excited to share my passion for the carillon with students and the community. I look forward to becoming involved in the new music scene at the University of Chicago and performing regularly on some very heavy metal.”
Augusta Read Thomas, University Professor of Composition, who served on the search committee that selected Brink, praised his “skill and originality.”
“Joey Brink is an internationally celebrated musician and teacher,” Thomas said. “His mature, creative, intelligent and engaging artistry will inspire people on every corner of campus. His leadership skills, integrity and vision are exceptional.”
The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon—the second-heaviest musical instrument in the world—was installed in 1932, shortly after the completion of Rockefeller Chapel. The instrument underwent a major restoration completed in 2008.
The carillon is played in recital twice daily throughout the academic year. Carillonneurs from around the world come to the Chapel each summer to perform at the Bells of Summer festival, which is celebrating its 50th year. In addition, the Chapel maintains an active teaching program and practice studio for carillon students.
Brink succeeds Wylie Crawford, who will retire this fall after 41 years performing on the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon and 31 years as University Carillonneur.