LAKE WALES –– Celebrating more than 88 years of musical and cultural heritage, Bok Tower Gardens will present the 23rd International Carillon Festival March 4-12.
The highly anticipated music festival features world-renowned carillonneurs performing daily concerts at 1 and 3 p.m. The Visitor Center also features historical exhibits on the history, construction and sound of the carillon from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Festival concerts are included with general admission.
Rediscovered carillon compositions
This year’s carillon festival features the exciting debut of five original carillon pieces composed in 1930’s for the Singing Tower by famed composers Rosario Scalero and Gian Carlo Menotti that were recently rediscovered in the archives of the Curtis Institute of Music. The Curtis Institute of Music was founded in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok (1876-1970), wife of Bok Tower Garden’s founder Edward Bok. A partnership between the two organizations allowed for Curtis Institute students to study composition and carillon performance at Bok Tower Gardens.
Several of Scalero’s students, including Gian Carlo Menotti, Nino Rota, and Samuel Barber, were among the students selected to come to Florida to study with Bok Tower Gardens’ first carillonneur, Anton Brees. Scalero also visited Bok Tower Gardens in 1931 and composed several pieces for carillon. None of these pieces were published and were thought to be lost. Bok Tower Gardens’ current resident carillonneur, Geert D’hollander, will perform the world premiere of two Scalero compositions on Saturday, March 4 at 1 p.m.
Menotti also composed several pieces for carillon during his time at Bok Tower Gardens. Six of those pieces, “Six Compositions for the Carillon,” were published in 1934. Three additional unpublished pieces were rediscovered in the Curtis Institute archives and all three will be performed by guest carillonneur Lisa Lonie on Thursday, March 9 at 3 p.m.
World premiere commissioned compositions
In addition to the rediscovered music, Garden’s Carillonneur Geert D’hollander will play two world premiere compositions commissioned for the International Carillon Festival and written in 2016 and 2017 by recent Blanchard Fellowship recipient Julie Zhu and Collins Fellowship recipient Joey Brink. The world premieres of these compositions will take place on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 12 during the 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. concerts.
The 23rd International Carillon Festival is supported and sponsored in part by The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, Visit Central Florida and Don & Pat Jones.
• Hidden Garden Melodies will be March 4-5 and March 11-12 with concerts at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Enjoy internationally-inspired, impromptu live music on the Blue Palmetto Café Terrace. The performance is included in general admission
• Sunset Mix & Mingle Carillon Concert at 6 p.m. March 6. Concert admission is $10 per person; free for members. Concert and reception is $35 person; and $25 for members. Celebrate one of the most unique musical experiences with a moonlight concert under the light of a full moon with a cocktail reception to follow in the Gardens Outdoor Kitchen where guests can meet the artists.
• Singing Tower Exterior Tour on March 6-10 from 12–1:30 p.m. each day. Included in general admission. Learn more about the Singing Tower’s history with a guided tour of the exterior of the Singing Tower highlighting its history, artistry, architecture and construction. After the tour, enjoy a half-hour carillon concert.
• Goldfish Carillon Children’s Concert at 10 a.m. on March 8. Also included with general admission. Children are invited to experience a musical presentation of interactive carillon music, meet the artists, learn about the Singing Tower and enjoy light healthy snacks.
• Moonlight Mix and Mingle Carillon Concert at 7:30 p.m. March 10. Concert admission is $10 per person; and free for members. Concert and reception tickets are $35 per person; and $25 for members. Spend an evening beneath the live oaks as carillon melodies float down from the Singing Tower, illuminated by moon beams. A cocktail reception will follow at Pinewood Estate where guests can meet the artists.
International Carillon Festival guest carillonneurs
The festival features daily concerts by four outstanding professional carillonneurs, Koen Cosaert, Frans Haagen, Lisa Lonie and Ellen Dickinson who are all first-time festival performers and leading international performers among their peers. Each guest carillonneur will present four concerts each. Ssome of them will be digitally-synthesized music with live bells, various themed recitals carillon duet concerts and more.
Together with Geert, the guest carillonneurs will perform throughout the nine-day festival at 1 and 3 p.m. daily.
• Cosaert was appointed by the city council of Mechelen, Belgium as fifth director of the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn,” one of the leading institutes for carillon art in the world under the Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mathilde. Since 1987, Cosaert has taught carillon, campanology, harmony and music theory at the Royal Carillon School and at its department in Roeselare. He has been visiting professor for carillon and campanology at the St.-Petersburg University in Russia since 2007.
• Haagen studied carillon at the Dutch Carillon School in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, with Bernard Winsemius and Arie Abbenes and graduated summa cum laude earning his diploma as performing musician. He is currently working as the city carillonneur of Kampen, Almelo, Holten, Zutphen and Doesburg. He is the carillon professor and Principal of the Dutch Carillon School in Amersfoort, part of the HKU Utrecht University of the Arts. He is frequently invited as a jury member for examinations and for international organ and carillon competitions.
• Lonie is the university carillonneur of Princeton University in New Jersey and resident carillonneur at two churches: St. Thomas’ Church in Whitemarsh, Pa., and at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia which houses the oldest carillon in North America, installed in 1882. She is a private carillon teacher, as well as a regional carillon instructor for the North American Carillon School, an affiliate of The Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” of Mechelen, Belgium.
• Dickinson received a Master of Music degree in organ from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, and the Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale College. She is Director of Music at Norfield Congregational Church in Connecticut. In 2006, she co-founded the Jubilate Ringers, a community handbell ensemble. She is the founding director of the Weston Summer Chorus and directed the Yale Summer Chorus for five seasons. She has served as guest conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale, the Florilegium Chamber Choir in New York City and was director of the Yale Freshman Chorus.
About Bok Tower Gardens
Voted Florida’s best garden, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark near Lake Wales. Open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission is $14 for adults and $5 for ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information phone 863-676-1408 or visit www.boktowergardens.org.