University of Rochester

EVENT: Picnic on the Quad and Enjoy University's Carillon

June 27, 2000

The distinctive sounds of the University of Rochester's Hopeman Memorial Carillon will ring out this summer in a series of free concerts for the public.

Beginning Monday, July 17, audiences will have three rare opportunities to enjoy music performed on the carillon, a musical instrument of bells controlled by a keyboard. Concertgoers can bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic suppers and enjoy the peaceful mid-summer ambience of the River Campus while listening to classical music, folk songs, and compositions specifically for the carillon. The performers are three internationally known carillonneurs: John Courter of Berea, Ky., professor of music and college organist at Berea College; George Gregory of San Antonio, Texas, who was professor of music at San Antonio College and is carillonneur and organist at Central Christian Church; and Gloria Werblow, carillonneur at Calvary Episcopal Church, Williamsville, NY.

The Hopeman Memorial Carillon is located in the landmark tower of Rush Rhees Library. It is one of only six carillons in New York state. Weighing almost three-and-a-half tons, it consists of 50 stationary cast bronze bells that are sounded by clappers. Each clapper is connected by a half mile of thin metal rod to one of 48 wooden keys or 26 pedals. The carillonneur sits on a bench and plays by depressing the keys with loosely clenched hands. The pedals, connected to the heavier bass bells, are depressed with the feet. As with a piano, expressive playing is achieved by varying the touch.

Each concert will begin at 7 p.m. and will last about an hour. Listeners can sit anywhere on the Eastman Quadrangle in front of Rush Rhees Library and will be able to meet each performer on the library steps following the concert.

The schedule includes Courter performing on Monday, July 17; Gregory on Monday, July 31; and Werblow on Monday, August 7.

The bells in Rush Rhees tower are also controlled by an electronic clock and playing mechanism to automatically strike a chime every quarter hour. Since January, an original new tune has been heard from the tower: the Rochester Quarters, composed by Daniel Harrison to mark the University's sesquicentennial this year. Harrison is associate professor of music at the College and associate professor of theory at the Eastman School of Music and also the University's official carillonneur.

The Hopeman Memorial Carillon Summer Recital Series is sponsored by the Department of Music at the College.

Note to Editors: A color photograph of the bells (200 dpi, CMYK, 4 x 6) can be e-mailed to you. Please contact Helene Snihur, at 275-7800 or, to request and provide an e-mail address.