Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn"

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Old carillon practice keyboard being removed from the Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn" for replacement on October 25, 2005

The Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn" (Dutch: Koninklijke Beiaardschool "Jef Denyn") in Mechelen, Belgium, is the first and largest carillon school in the world. The Belgian government defines it as an "International Higher Institute for the Carillon Arts under the High Protection of Her Majesty Queen Fabiola." The school has trained many of the foremost carillonneurs of the twentieth century and houses a rich archive and library.

History[edit]

The Royal Carillon School was founded in 1922 by renowned city carillonneur of Mechelen Jef Denyn, in whose honor it was later named, with the support of Americans Herbert Hoover, John D. Rockefeller, and William Gorham Rice. The first institution of its kind, the school soon gained international acclaim and has trained carillonneurs from numerous countries, including Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The institution has developed under the successive leadership of Jef Denyn (1862-1941), Staf Nees (1901-1965), Piet Van den Broek, Jo Haazen (1944-), and its present director Koen Cosaert (1963-). The school has made a significant impact on carillon performance worldwide and is the originating place of the Flemish romantic style of carillon composition and performance.

In 1984, the Royal Carillon School established a branch at the Catholic University of Leuven, and Her Majesty Queen Fabiola conferred her high protection upon the school. Later that year, the school introduced the carillon tradition to Japan. In 1986, the school was elected to membership in the Russian Cultural Committee, and the first Russian students arrived in 1992. Another branch opened in Halle in 1991, and additional branches now exist in Roeselare, Ronse, and Peer.

The Queen Fabiola International Carillon Competition was established by the school in 1987. Every five years, carillonneurs from the world over converge in Mechelen to compete in the most prestigious carillon competition in history. The school also organizes carillon composition contests and publishes works for carillon, campanological literature, and carillon methods.

Prominent visitors to the school include cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the Vienna Boys' Choir, former Hungarian president Árpád Göncz, Russia's first lady Lyudmila Putina, Defense Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ivanov, Michael I and Queen Anne of Romania, American Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Tom C. Korologos, and Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium.

Malinovi Zvon (lit. "bells of Mechelen") is the Russian term for carillon, illustrating the central role of the Royal Carillon School in the dissemination of Belgian culture and the carillon art worldwide. Since 1995, the Flemish government has repeatedly conferred the honor upon the school of being Cultural Ambassador of Flanders.

Facilities[edit]

Historic carillon keyboards in the Museum of the Royal Carillon School

For many years the Royal Carillon School was housed in the historic building 't Schipke, adjoining the Court of Busleyden, which contained the school's carillon and museum. Due to ongoing construction in the Court of Busleyden, 't Schipke was temporarily closed in autumn 2011, so the school and many of the museum holdings are currently (late 2013) located on the Bruul, Mechelen's main shopping street. (The carillon and two rooms at the Court of Busleyden remain available to the school during construction.) In addition to the carillon and museum, school facilities include six practice keyboards, pianos, a set of English handbells, a library of sheet music, and an important historical archive. Rehearsal and lesson time on the Mechelen city carillon in St. Rumbold's Tower is also available to advanced students. The museum and library holdings include an international collection of bells, historic carillon keyboards, rare books, manuscripts, and art objects.

Academics[edit]

The Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn" is a state-subsidized educational institute, and its several courses of study fall under the aegis of "part-time arts education" (Dutch: deeltijds kunstonderwijs) in Flanders and Mechelen. It also organizes occasional lectures, symposia, and masterclasses. The full curriculum covers nine or ten years depending on age at entry, but carillonneurs with prior training may graduate as quickly as within one year. Carillon performance, carillon history and campanology, improvisation, theory, harmony, composition, arranging, part-singing, and keyboard instruction comprise the curriculum. Student activities such as carillon trips in Belgium and the Netherlands and to international carillon congresses are organized by the student association Campana, which publishes a newsletter, 't Schipke [1].

The school maintains connections with higher institutes of art in Belgium, the Carillon Instituut Nederland [2] and Bourdon Hogeschool voor Muziek [3] in the Netherlands, and Missouri State University in the United States. The school also maintains an exchange program with the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs and relations with the State Conservatory of Saratov in Russia.

Tuition fees amount to less than 260 € per year.

Degrees and diplomas[edit]

Diplomas are offered at two levels of secondary education, and advanced students may continue their studies to earn a Final Diploma (Dutch: einddiploma) or the two-year Diploma of Excellence, an honor awarded to only a few students in the school's history with exceptional talent in composition. In association with the Carillon Instituut Nederland and Bourdon Hogeschool voor Muziek in the Netherlands, the school began offering bachelor's degrees in 2006. A joint master's degree in carillon with tracks in performance and pedagogy is offered jointly with Missouri State University.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

A number of other educational institutions in Europe and the United States now offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in carillon performance:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carillonneur—Geert D’hollander". Retrieved 18 March 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cosaert, Koen, ed. Vijf eeuwen klokkenkunst te Mechelen: Kroniek van 25 jaar schoolwerking (1972-1997). Mechelen, Belgium: De Koninklijke Beiaardschool 'Jef Denyn' Mechelen, 1998.

External links[edit]