Bok Tower Gardens welcomes four emerging guest carillonneurs who will debut world premiere performances on the Singing Tower carillon during the 22nd International Carillon Festival (ICF) March 8-16, 2014.
The event is sponsored in part by Visit Central Florida, WEDU, WUSF, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Individual artist performances have been made possible by Margaret & William Burns, Pat & Don Jones, Margaret & Frank Hunt II, and Friends of Bok Tower Gardens.
ICF will be led by Gardens’ carillonneur Geert D’hollander. Geert has studied piano, chamber music, choral- and orchestral direction, fugue, and composition at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium, and carillon at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium. He was first-prize winner in about 30 international competitions for carillon and/or composition.
“After 30 years in the carillon field, one of my goals is to encourage and promote the carillonneurs of tomorrow,” D’hollander said. “During this international festival, you will enjoy the music of four young, very talented artists who have an incredible passion for music. For each of them, it’s their first appearance at our festival, and they’re really taking things to a whole new level.”
NEW MUSIC ON OLD BELLS
The 2014 carillon festival is a musical departure and celebration of contemporary music. Visitors will hear selections from important American composers, digitally-synthesized music with live bells, new compositions, and several world and North American premieres.
The selected guest carillonneurs are all pioneering new sounds on the carillon, yet are accomplished on timeless classics. They all have recently won international competitions, come from a variety of backgrounds, and are dedicated to promoting the awareness and enjoyment of carillon music. Together with Geert, these artists will perform throughout the nine-day festival at 1 & 3 p.m. daily.
Tiffany Ng has played more than 80 concerts in 11 countries, including the opening recital of the 2008 World Carillon Federation Post-Congress Festival in Lommel, Belgium. An energetic proponent of multi-media carillon performance, she has premiered over a dozen pieces for acoustic carillon and for carillon utilizing real-time electronic sounds.
“We’re hacking Bok Tower’s extensive sound recording and amplification equipment to create sounds that have never been heard from the Singing Tower before,” Ng says. “I’m honored to be part of a long and rich tradition of festivals, and also honored to have been invited by Geert D’hollander to share my new innovations.”
A student of Geert D’hollander at the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Belgium, Tiffany graduated magna cum laude in 2006. In the following years, she revived the years-silent carillon at the University of Rochester, serving as Instructor of Carillon and successfully training a successor to carry on the program. She now serves as Associate Carillonist of the University of California, Berkeley where she teaches performance and carillon history through the DeCal program. She has taught master classes and private lessons at institutions including Yale University and the Roosevelt Academy in The Netherlands.
Jeremy Chesman, AAGO, ChM, is University Carillonist and Associate Professor of Music at Missouri State University. A graduate of the University of Michigan where he was the first person to earn a Master of Music degree in carillon performance, Jeremy has performed throughout the United States, The Netherlands, France, Belgium and Portugal, where he played a recital of American music at the National Palace in Mafra on the European Union’s day of mourning for the events of September 11.
A specialist in American music, Jeremy has premiered works by Steven Sodders and Augustus O. Hill. He has lectured on American carillon music in Belgium and at congresses of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. He is also working on a book about the carillon in American universities.
“This festival is the most important and historical festival in the North American carillon movement, and one of the most important in the world,” Chesman says. “It’s also nice to have a week where the carillon is the focus. We’re happy to play in the background to liven people’s days, but this week the carillon takes center stage.”
Tom Van Peer is the City Carillonneur of Lokeren, Belgium. He received his carillon diploma magna cum laude at the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium in 1998. That same year, he won the prestigious International Queen Fabiola Contest for carillon, as well as the prize for the best interpretation of a modern Belgian work from the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM).
In 2002, Tom was awarded The Outstanding Young People (TOYP) Award in the “personal development” category for his striking musical merit, despite his visual impairment. In 2003, he won a ‘Young Talent’ prize with his Nocturne No. 1 for carillon. Tom is an accomplished composer for both piano and carillon, and has performed in ten countries.In 2009, in honor of the golden wedding anniversary of Belgium’s King and Queen, Tom was invited to play the carillon at the Royal Palace of Laeken.
“For me, this unique and prestigious event is the absolute musical highlight of my career,” Van Peer says. “From what I’ve heard about this incredible instrument, I’m sure it will inspire me to compose new works, but above all, will give me an unforgettable musical experience. I can’t wait.”
Monica Kaźmierczak is the City Carillonneur of Gdansk, Poland. She studied piano at the State Academy of Music in Gdansk and obtained a master’s degree in music theory from the Gdansk Conservatory in 2003. She was selected for the prestigious Huyghens International Scholarship, enabling her to study carillon at the Dutch Carillon School in Amersfoort, Netherlands where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2004 and master’s degree in 2005.
In 2007, Monika was offered the Cultural Scholarship of the City of Gdansk and was able to take extensive master classes with the Gardens’ Geert D’hollander at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium. In addition, she obtained a master’s degree in choral conducting and is the conductor of the Gdansk Citizens’ Choir. Monika undertook several concert tours with the Hevelius Brass Ensemble (carillon and brass) and is considered one of the best female carillonneurs in the world.
“It is an honor to play during this festival. It is my first time to be here, and I’ve heard a lot of things about the beauty of this tower, carillon and place,” Kaźmierczak says. “I will present pieces that are special for me. Two of my short programs present music from my city and country that I find very beautiful. I hope you will enjoy my choices!”
ICF is part of the Gardens’ ongoing mission to share and engage with learners of all ages in music, history, and the arts. This programming is critical to the collective human experience of cultural institutions across the globe.
The Gardens’ Visitor Center will feature historical exhibits on the history, construction, and sound of the carillon from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, included with general admission.
All performances are included at no additional cost in the Gardens’ regular admission prices. Tickets may be purchased online at www.BokTowerGardens.org, or by calling the Gardens at 863-734-1222.