Residents can “ring in the summer” with the unique sounds of the University of Rochester’s Hopeman Memorial Carillon again this year. A series of free concerts beginning Monday, July 11, will provide four opportunities to hear 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 internationally known carillonneurs Laurel Buckwalter, Jeremy Chesman, the Groningen Carillon Duo, and Tim Sleep.
The Hopeman Memorial Carillon, located in the landmark tower of Rush Rhees Library, 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.
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 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.
The schedule features Alfred University carillonneur Buckwalter on Monday, July 11; Chesman, carillonneur at Southwest Missouri State University, on Monday, July 18; the Groningen Duo of the Netherlands, with Adolph Rots and Auke de Boer, on Monday, July 25; and Sleep, who is one of the carillonneurs at the University of Chicago, on Monday, Aug. 1.
The Hopeman Memorial Carillon Summer Recital Series is sponsored by the Department of Music in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. For more information, call (585) 275-2828.