Rockefeller Chapel announces Carillon New Music Festival!

April 18, 2018

Carillon New Music Festival Press Release

University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel Presents Sixteen World Premières in Festival of New Music for Carillon

Friday May 25, 2018, 5 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday May 26, 2018, 10 am to 5:30 pm, at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Festival includes world premières by University of Chicago composers including University Professor Augusta Read Thomas

CHICAGO—The University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel presents sixteen world premières of music for carillon in a festival of new music for carillon, the first such festival in Chicago’s history, Friday May 25 and Saturday May 26, 2018. Under the direction of University Carillonneur Joey Brink, himself a noted new composer for his instrument, six works commissioned by Rockefeller Chapel will receive their world première performances, along with four works written by members of the University of Chicago Music Department. Brink has added a new work of his own to the festival, as has one of his undergraduate carillon students, and four pieces have been commissioned by his fellow lead performers at the event.

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."

Four new doctoral and master’s student composers at the University of Chicago 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 performers include four celebrated world carillonneurs, Tiffany Ng (University of Michigan), FransHaagen (The Netherlands Carillon School), Ellen Dickinson (Yale), and Joey Brink—the first everAmerican winner of the world’s preeminent carillon performance competition in Belgium in 2014, who became the University of Chicago’s sixth University Carillonneur the following year—with four undergraduate students of the University of Chicago’s guild of carillonneurs.

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.

Further program details may be found on our Carillon New Music Festival webpage.

For further information about the musicians, program notes, and general event inquiries, contact Eden Sabala, special events manager, at 773.834.4685.

Sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel, with joint commissions by the University of Michigan and Tiffany Ng, Yale University’s Ellen Dickinson, and Frans Haagen of the Netherlands Carillon School at Amersfoort.