University of Rochester

EVENT: Relax on Quad, Listen to Melodies from the University's Tower Bells

June 12, 2008

The University of Rochester's Eastman Quadrangle will once again provide a backdrop for the annual Hopeman Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series in front of the historic Rush Rhees Library on the River Campus.

Free and open to the public, this series will begin on Monday, July 7, and continue over the next four Mondays. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring their blankets and picnic baskets and then relax and enjoy the sounds of classical and popular music to compositions written specifically for the carillon.

Performing on the University's carillon are John Widmann, a carillonneur for 16 years for Frederick, Md., on July 7; Gordon Slater, former Dominion carillonneur for Canada, on July 14; Lisa Lonie, carillonneur at both St. Thomas' Church in Whitemarsh and at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia, Pa., on July 21; and Helen Hawley, minister of music at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Each program will begin at 7 p.m., rain or shine, and last about an hour. Following the concert, attendees will be able to meet each performer on the library steps.

The University of Rochester's Hopeman Memorial Carillon, located in the tower of Rush Rhess Library, is one of seven traditional carillons in New York State. The instrument consists of 50 bells that were cast in bronze in 1973 by the Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry of Asten in the Netherlands and weighs three and a half tons.

The art of carillon playing has been around for more than five centuries, originating in Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern France. Carillons must consist of at least 23 tuned bells which are controlled by a keyboard. The stationary bells are sounded by clappers that are connected to wooden keys and pedals. The carillonneur plays the instrument by depressing these baton-like keys with a loosely clenched fist. The pedals, connected to the heavier bass bells, are depressed with the feet. Like a piano, carillon playing is accomplished through the varying touch of the carillonneur.

The Hopeman Memorial Carillon Summer Recital Series is sponsored by the Department of Music. For more information, contact (585) 275-2828. For more information about the carillon, or to hear the bells online, visit