University of Chicago releases album of new music for carillon featuring Grammy-winning composer, world-renowned musicians

Ripple Effects cover art showing the Rockefeller Chapel Carillon Tower
April 1, 2020

The University of Chicago has released Ripple Effects: New Music for Carillon at the University of Chicago. The album features five live recordings from its historic Rockefeller Carillon New Music Festival, performances by award-winning musicians including University of Chicago carillonneur Joey Brink, and a composition by Grammy-winning composer Augusta Read Thomas and UChicago composers Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, Maria Kaoutzani, Ted Moore, and Austin D. Simonds.

The title track, composed by Thomas expressly for the Rockefeller carillon, was commissioned by Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in honor of its former Dean, Elizabeth Davenport. The piece features a massive cluster chord, during which all 72 of the Rockefeller carillon’s bells are rung at the same time. The premiere performance of Ripple Effects was the first and only time this chord was rung, a moment captured on the album. Originally composed for and performed by 12 carillonneurs, with an additional six needed to ring the final chord, the album version of the piece is performed by Brink and Michael Solotke.

Several other tracks on the album feature electroacoustic performances, in which the carillon is accompanied by electronic recordings or amplified instruments. Geert D’hollander’s Introduction and Aria, the first piece composed for carillon and solo trombone, features trombonist Riley Leitch. Award-winning cellist Sihao He performs J.S. Bach’s Suite no. III for Cello Solo, trading movements with Frans Haagen on Simple Suite no. III for Carillon. Also featuring electronically-amplified sound are Bell Trance, PPROM, and an excerpt of Ted Moore’s the curve is exponential, commissioned by the University to commemorate the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in 1942.

Ripple Effects features performances by renowned carillonneurs Joey Brink, Frans Haagen, Tiffany Ng and Ellen Dickinson, joined by Simone Browne and Michael Solotke. Brink, the sixth University of Chicago carillonneur, has won awards for both performance and composition. He has published more than 20 works for carillon and released his first album of carillon music, Letters from the Sky, in 2016. Haagen is a professor at the Dutch Carillon School and serves as the municipal carillonneur in the Dutch cities of Kampen, Almelo, Zutphen and Doesburg. Acclaimed University of Michigan Carillonneur Ng has performed all over the world. Dickinson, Trinity College Carillonneur and Director of Bell Programs at Yale, has organized ambitious new music festivals for carillon and trained many acclaimed carillonneurs.

The University of Chicago’s Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon is one of the world’s largest instruments. It has 72 bronze bells, ranging in weight from 10.5 pounds to more than 18 tons, and is played by Brink and the University of Chicago Carillon Guild. The Guild consists of about 20 undergraduate and graduate students who audition to take lessons and perform daily recitals for the campus and neighborhood. The carillon is played throughout the academic year and in a summer concert series, The Bells of Summer.

The album is available to stream on various platforms including:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6GrwwIqg0ChHOLow9TMssY
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ar/album/ripple-effects/1504579994?l=en
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086DBS2TS/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp

For further information about the album, Joey Brink, and Rockefeller Chapel, please visit https://rockefeller.uchicago.edu/.

 

Rockefeller Chapel, the University of Chicago’s iconic spiritual and ceremonial center, is a major arts presenter and venue for the performing arts. Under the Arts at the Rock label, the Chapel offers diverse programming in music and visual arts, with a particular focus on music played on – and composed for – its world-class carillon and organ, and on choral performance.

The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon was installed in 1932 and, with its sister carillon in New York, is one of the two largest musical instruments of any kind ever built. It is played twice daily in performance at the University of Chicago by University Carillonneur Joey Brink, his twenty students, and distinguished guest artists.