Iowa State to host Summer Carillon Concert Series

AMES, Iowa -- One of the Iowa State University music department's summer traditions -- a carillon concert series -- resumes this year, the fourth such series since 2001.

A guest carillonneur will perform each month during June, July and August. ISU carillonneur and Associate Professor of Music Tin-Shi Tam will conclude the series Sept. 12 when she is joined by the ISU percussion ensemble and brass quintet.

Here's the lineup:

  • June 29, 7 p.m.: Amy Johansen, university organist and honorary carillonneur at the University of Sydney, Australia
  • July 27, 7 p.m.: Min-Jin O, professor of music and carillonneur at Hyechon University, Daejeon, South Korea
  • Aug. 17, 7 p.m.: Jeremy Chesman, associate professor of music and university carillonneur at Missouri State University, Springfield
  • Sept. 12, 3 p.m.: Tam, with the ISU Percussion Ensemble and ISU Brass Quintet

Each concert will last about 45 minutes. More information about the performers and the music programs they will play is available online.

"Each concert includes various types of music: folk songs from Korea, Australia and Japan; transcriptions of classical compositions by Vivaldi, Beethoven and Debussy; popular tunes like the 'Sound of Music;' and original carillon works," Tam said. "The concert on Sept. 12 also includes the premiere of two ensemble works -- one for carillon and brass quintet, and one for carillon and percussion ensemble."

The guest performers will need to climb 79 steps to the playing cabin of ISU's Edgar W. and Margaret MacDonald Stanton Memorial Carillon. Once there, they'll need to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings before performing, since Tam reports that no two carillons are alike.

"From the design of the tower to the casting of the bells, each carillon is unique and different," she says. "Therefore, playing different carillon involves certain adjustments and preparations."

Free campanile tours will begin immediately after each concert. Interested parties should meet at the base of the campanile.

Nearly anywhere on central campus is a good place to listen to the concerts, Tam said. The open space around the ISU campanile minimizes bounceback from buildings and optimizes the sound of the music, she said. Bring your own lawn chairs or blanket.

Tam is continuing her lunch concerts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for much of the summer (May 17-June 11, June 21-July 16). Each lasts about 20 minutes. She takes requests for the Friday concerts; e-mail your request to