The distinctive sounds of the Hopeman Memorial Carillon at the University of Rochester will ring out this summer in a series of four free concerts for the public beginning Thursday, July 8.
Located in the landmark tower of Rush Rhees Library on the River Campus, the carillon consists of 50 stationary cast bronze bells, weighs almost three-and-a-half tons, and is Rochester's largest musical instrument. An electronic clock controls the bells to automatically sound a chime every quarter hour, but a manual playing mechanism allows musicians to perform in recital or for special events like Commencement.
The Hopeman Memorial Carillon Summer Recital Series features four internationally known carillonneurs: Gijsbert Kok, organist of the American Protestant Church in The Hague and carillonneur for three cities in The Netherlands, who will perform on Thursday, July 8; Elizabeth Berghout, assistant professor and carillonneur at the University of Kansas, on Thursday, July 15; Marcel Siebers, composer and carillonneur for Aldegundis Church in Emmerich, Germany, on Thursday, July 22; and Stephen Schreiber, organist and choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ambler, Pa., and a carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, a professional membership based on an applicant's examination and recital, on Thursday, July 29.
Each concert will begin at 7 p.m., rain or shine, and will last about an hour. The carillonneurs will perform works composed specifically for the carillon as well as standard works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and other composers.
Concertgoers can sit anywhere on the Eastman Quadrangle in front of the library and are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnic suppers, or even a book to read to enjoy the peaceful mid-summer ambience of the riverside location.
The Hopeman Memorial Carillon is one of only six carillons in New York state. With carillons, the bells are stationary and only their clappers move. The clapper on each one of 50 bronze bells in the Rush Rhees tower is connected by a thin metal rod to the carillon's keyboard. The carillonneur sits on a bench and plays by depressing the baton-like keys with loosely clenched hands. The pedals, connected to heavier bass bells, are depressed with the feet. As with a piano, expressive playing is achieved by varying the touch.
The Hopeman Memorial Carillon Summer Recital Series is sponsored by the Department of Music at the College. For more information, call (585) 275-2828.