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Carillon News

February 15, 2012

Brian Swager is carillon editor of THE DIAPASON.



In celebration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1625), the Martini Carillon Foundation of Groningen is organizing a carillon performance competition in cooperation with the Dutch Carillon Guild. It will take place on September 15, 2012 and consists of two parts: playing the Martini carillon, and making an arrangement for carillon of a keyboard composition of J. P. Sweelinck. Further information and rules are available at 



The Carillon Society of Australia, Inc., organized a student carillon composition competition in conjunction with the Wesley Music Foundation. They received 20 entries from students of the Australian National University and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. First prize ($2,000) was awarded to Leonard Wiess for “The Bells of Nyx.” Ella Macens won the second prize ($1,000) with “The Transfixed Walls.” Third prize ($500) was awarded to Austin Har for “The Devil’s Merry-Go-Round.”


GCNA news

Five members of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America successfully passed the examination for carillonneur certification during the congress at Kirk in the Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Joseph Brink of Yale University, Stephan Burton of Brigham Young University, Nick Huang of Yale University, Joseph Peeples of Brigham Young Univeristy, and Chelsea Vaught of the University of Kansas. The next congress of the GCNA will be hosted by Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, June 19–22, 2012.


Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral was damaged by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake last August. The cathedral was closed on August 23, and the carillon was silenced with the exception of the commemorative ringing of the bourdon bell on September 11. Cathedral carillonneur Edward Nassor reported that the 53-bell Kibbey carillon was repaired by the cathedral’s facilities department. The tower stabilization has progressed to the point that the bells can be played without risk to the tower. Scaffolding has been erected atop the Gloria in Excelsis (central) Tower bracing the four corner pinnacles. Separate scaffolding has been built to support the transept and west towers. 

The earthquake caused the clappers on four of the largest bells to swing violently enough to pull the cables out of the turnbuckles that connect the tracker wires to the keyboard. The cables that had pulled out of the keyboard were reattached, so the bells can now play normally. Nassor performed on the carillon, for the first time since the earthquake, during the Cathedral Choral Society’s Joy of Christmas concerts. The first selection played was Wendell Westcott’s arrangement of Joy to the World. The concert concluded with Lisa Lonie’s Fantasy on “I Saw Three Ships.” Now that the carillon has been repaired and the tower is stabilized, carillon music will resume sounding over the cathedral close before Sunday Holy Eucharist and for Saturday recitals.


Send items for “Carillon News” to Dr. Brian Swager, c/o The Diapason, 3030 W. Salt Creek Lane, Suite 201, Arlington Heights, IL 60005-5025; or e-mail
[email protected]/?A>. For information on the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America: www.gcna.org.

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