Carillonist to use music against silence


A historic work of carillon music penned by African-American composer Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson will ring across the University of Michigan campus as part of “Music Against Silence.”

Tiffany Ng, university carillonist and assistant professor of carillon, will perform Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson’s 1973 “Carillon Dances” on the Charles Baird Carillon atop Burton Memorial Tower. (Photo by Nick Hagen)

Tiffany Ng, university carillonist and assistant professor of carillon, will perform Nelson’s 1973 “Carillon Dances” on the iconic 53-bell Charles Baird Carillon atop Burton Memorial Tower.

Ng said Nelson’s “Carillon Dances” was the first piece of carillon music to have been commissioned from an African-American composer and published. She said no other commissioned carillon works existed from African-American composers before she joined the U-M faculty and began efforts to increase the university’s holdings of African-American music.

“It was such a historic, watershed piece,” Ng said. “And it’s been a piece that hasn’t been performed very widely so I’d like to sort of dust it off and emphasize its historical importance.”

Nelson is a black composer, trumpeter and music educator who has been commissioned by ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, Oklahoma Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic and many dance companies. His influences span jazz, folk, hip-hop, theater and film, and his works often promote social justice and black culture.

During “Music Against Silence,” a number of jazz arrangements for the carillon penned by African-American composers and an arrangement of “Freedom is a Constant Struggle” will be performed, Ng said.

The free concert begins at noon Jan. 15 on the 10th floor of Burton Memorial Tower. The public is welcome inside the belfry during the concert and afterwards for a Q&A with the performers and student music arrangers. To reach the belfry, guests can take the elevator to the 8th floor and walk two flights of stairs to the 10th floor.

An ADA-accessible listening space with live video simulcast will be available on the 8th floor, followed by a student-led demonstration of the adjoining practice carillon.

A similar concert will be open to the public and take place at 1:30 p.m. at Lurie Tower.


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