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Rockefeller Carillon New Music Festival

Friday May 25 and Saturday May 26, 2018

Celebrating the two-day festival of new music for the carillon held this past spring, featuring sixteen world premières, including music for carillon and electronics and carillon and other instruments, with the headline composition Ripple Effects by Augusta Read Thomas.

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 commissioned Nova by Tom Trenney, and Joey Brink performed the première of his own new PPROM for carillon and electronics. The University of Michigan's Tiffany Ng performed Of Senses Steeped, which she commissioned from Kathryn Alexander for the festival, and two works written for her by graduate students Matias Vilaplana (Bell Trance) and Brendan McMullen (Illusory Truth) at the University of Michigan. Undergraduate member of the University of Chicago Guild of Carillonneurs Joshua Kaufman performed 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 was headlined by world-renowned Chicago composer and champion extraordinaire of new music Augusta Read Thomas. Her Ripple Effects for Carillon, for twenty-four hands, was 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 was rung at once in the grand final moment, the resonance of the chord observed until the ripple thus created faded beyond the audible.

Among the other works performed for the first time, Laura Steenberge’s Red Shift, a sound collage for electro-acoustic carillon, speaks to the flight of pulsing stars using Laurie Spiegel's The Expanding Universe as a guide. Geert D’hollander’s Introduction and Aria is the first composition ever written for carillon and solo trombone, 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—had 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, received its second performance.

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