University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Live from the Hopeman Memorial Carillon

Tiffany Ng’s story is an unlikely one. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Ng grew up in an economically challenged neighborhood in San Francisco where she developed a love for music. Although lessons and training were out of her parent’s reach, Ng was guided by sheer determination and the example of her father, Kwok Ng ’82, who worked as a busboy while studying economics and statistics at the University.

Tiffany herself went on to study music at Yale University and at the Royal Carillon School in Belgium, where she earned a carillonneur performer’s diploma. As a member of the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs, Ng traveled the world giving recitals. It was through that experience that Ng developed a passion for carillon performance, a passion she fuels each Wednesday when she gives free concerts from the University’s Hopeman Memorial Carillon from noon to 1 p.m.

“Playing the carillon is an exhilarating experience of creating music of great magnitude and potential for expressivity,” she says.

“[I have] the freedom to play anything from Bach preludes to ‘Hotel California’ and the theme from Ghostbusters.”

Ng also describes a sense of awe when she rings the bells. “The music is far away, above listeners, yet it brings me as a performer closer to my audience because my music reaches everyone.”

In addition to her Wednesday recitals, Ng hopes to reinstate the Carillon Society, a student group that originally formed in 1954 as the Bellman Society to give undergraduates the chance to play the instrument. The group disbanded in the 1980s.

“University students deserve access to the kinds of life-changing opportunities that I found through the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs,” she says.

Ng also is working to launch a fundraising campaign called “Ring out Over Rochester” that aims to raise $11,000 for the inclusion of safety measures in the Rush Rhees Tower. At present, students are unable to practice unaccompanied in the tower, but with the addition of the safety precautions, Ng hopes undergraduates will once again be allowed to ring the bells.

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