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Rockefeller Carillon New Music Festival

Friday May 25 | 5–8 pm
Saturday May 26 | 10 am–12:45 pm, 2:45–5:30 pm

A two-day festival of new music for the carillon featuring sixteen world premières, including music for carillon and electronics and carillon and other instruments. The Friday evening program includes a reception at 5:30 pm with the artists, composers, and creators of the festival, with the headline composition—Ripple Effects by Augusta Read Thomas—performed at 6 pm. A recital showcasing the festival's four lead performers follows at 6:30 pm. The Saturday program includes eight short recitals, interspersed with visual presentations in diverse formats about the music, the composers, and the world of new music for carillon. Free, with light refreshments throughout the event.

Carillon New Music Festival Press Release

World premières of music written for the festival

Commissioned by Rockefeller Chapel for the Carillon New Music Festival

Augusta Read Thomas Ripple Effects for Carillon for twenty-four hands
Emily Cooley Siciliana
Geert D’hollander Introduction and Aria for carillon and trombone
Yvette Janine Jackson Cannot Be (Unrung)  jointly commissioned with the University of Michigan and Tiffany Ng
Laura Steenberge Red Shift for carillon and electronics
Renske Vrolijk America

Premières of music written for the festival by members of the University of Chicago Music Department

PhD candidate Maria Kaoutzani Faro
PhD candidate Alison Yun-Fei Jiang Pluie
PhD candidate Rodrigo Bussad A Brazilian Suite for carillon duet
Graduate student Kevin Kay Extensions

Additional commissions and works written for the festival

Yale University's Ellen Dickinson has commissioned a new work by Tom Trenney, and Joey Brink performs the première of his own new PPROM for carillon and electronics. The University of Michigan's Tiffany Ng performs Of Senses Steeped, which she has commissioned from Kathryn Alexander for the festival, and two works written for her by graduate students at the University of Michigan. Undergraduate member of the University of Chicago Guild of Carillonneurs Joshua Kaufman performs the première of his Express.

Festival performers

Joey Brink  University Carillonneur
Ellen Dickinson  Yale University
Frans Haagen  Amersfoort Carillon School, The Netherlands
Tiffany Ng  University of Michigan
Elsa Mundt, Michael Sloyan, Joshua Kaufman, Xibai (Sylvia) Wang  undergraduate members of the University of Chicago Guild of Carillonneurs 
Riley Leitch  trombone
Sihao He  cello

About the program

The festival is headlined by world-renowned Chicago composer and champion extraordinaire of new music Augusta Read Thomas. Her Ripple Effects for Carillon, for twenty-four hands, will be among the works receiving their première. Ripple Effects, dedicated to Rockefeller’s Elizabeth Davenport in celebration of her ten years as Dean of the Chapel, evokes the kaleidoscopic journey that happens when magnificent life-force and positive energy cause a ripple to spread far and wide. Establishing a chromatic palette from the start, the virtuosic work culminates in the first ever 72-bell cluster chord, in which every bell of the Rockefeller tower is rung at once in the grand final moment, the resonance of the chord to be observed until the ripple thus created fades beyond the audible.

Among the other works to be performed for the first time, Laura Steenberge’s Red Shift for electro-acoustic carillon speaks to the flight of pulsing stars through the expanding universe. Geert D’hollander’s Introduction and Aria is the first composition ever written for carillon and solo trombone, to be played by Joey Brink with Riley Leitch on trombone. Kathryn Alexander’s Of Senses Steeped, commissioned by the University of Michigan’s Tiffany Ng for the festival, is a virtuosic piece, “mischievous and whimsical in nature.”

The four newest composers at the University of Chicago—three doctoral students and a masters’ student—have works receiving their world première at the festival. In addition, doctoral student Ted Moore’s the curve is exponential for carillon and electronics, composed for the University of Chicago’s Nuclear Reactions series and premiered on December 2, 2017, receives its second performance.

Geert D’hollander’s Simple Suite, a reaction to Bach’s Suite No. 3 for Cello, receives its Chicago première, with the carillonneur alternating movements with Sihao He on cello.

The program includes a Friday evening reception at 5:30 pm between two opening concerts, eight further concerts on the Saturday beginning at 10 am, and "meet the composer" breaks between performances. Augusta Read Thomas’ Ripple Effects will be played on the Friday at 6 pm as a stand-alone work, introduced by Thomas herself during the reception.

The festival is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Light refreshments will be served throughout the festival.

Festival schedule

Friday May 25, 2018 at Rockefeller Chapel

5:00 pm Recital I: Elsa Mundt, Michael Sloyan, Joshua Kaufman, and Xibai (Sylvia) Wang,
undergraduate members of the University of Chicago Guild of Carillonneurs
5:30 pm Opening reception, including:
6:00 pm World première performance of Ripple Effects by Augusta Read Thomas
(with remarks by the composer)
6:30 pm Recital II: Joey Brink, Tiffany Ng, Frans Haagen, and Ellen Dickinson
7:30 pm Reception, continued

Saturday May 26, 2018 at Rockefeller Chapel

Each of the recitals will last 25–30 minutes.

10:00 am Recital III  Joey Brink with Riley Leitch, trombone
10:40 am Recital IV  Ellen Dickinson
11:15 am Meet the composers
11:35 am Recital V  Tiffany Ng
12:15 pm Recital VI  Frans Haagen with Sihao He, cello
12:45 pm Lunch break, including tower tours
2:45 pm Recital VII  Ellen Dickinson
3:25 pm Recital VIII  Joey Brink
4:00 pm Meet the composers
4:20 pm Recital IX  Frans Haagen
5:00 pm Recital IX  Frans Haagen