Press Releases

Alex Johnson set to give second performance in Wingate Summer Carillon Recital Series

Alfred University | 7/09/19

Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson will perform in the 2019 Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series at Alfred University on Tuesday, July 16.

ALFRED, NY – Alex Johnson will perform in the 2019 Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series at Alfred University on Tuesday, July 16.

Johnson’s performance, at 7 p.m., is the second of four scheduled for Tuesdays in July at Alfred University’s Davis Memorial Carillon. It is free and open to the public.

His program will include arrangements of works by classical musicians like Franz Schubert (“Standchen”) and  Frederic Chopin (“A Little Night Music”); gospel legend Thomas Dorsey (“Precious Lord”); renowned Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla (“Verano Porteño”); and Canadian carillonneur, pianist and composer Emilien Allard (“Notule No. 1” and “Image No. 2”)

Johnson began his musical training as a child with piano and percussion before discovering the carillon when he began his undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester in 2015. Under the mentorship of Tim Sleep, he successfully passed the examination process for the Guild of Carillonneurs in 2018.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Rochester in 2018. He studied carillon with Geert D’hollander (who performs in the Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series July 30) at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL, this past winter and spring. During the 2019-20 academic year, Johnson will study at the Royal Carillon School ‘Jef Denyn’ in Mechelen, Belgium. His plans are to pursue graduate work in music theory and a career in carillon performance and teaching.

Two other carillonneurs will perform during the 2019 Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series: Margaret Pan on July 23; and D’hollander on July 30. Each of those free concerts will begin at 7 p.m.

Alfred University’s Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series honors the first University carillonneur, Dr. Ray Wingate, professor of organ, who served as carillonneur from the arrival of the first 35 bells on campus in 1937 until his death in 1968. More than 20 additional bells were added over the years, some replacing original bells, and a new keyboard was installed in 1953, covering four octaves from C to C. Pedals span one octave, plus a musical fifth. The original tower on which the bells were hung was an oil derrick, hearkening back to the days when the Alfred and Wellsville areas were part of the northeast oil and gas fields mined for carbon-based fuels.  The current steel tower was built in 1953, and modified in 1980.

The Wingate Memorial Summer Carillon Recital Series is generously funded by the Margaret Merrill and Ray Winthrop Wingate Memorial Carillon Foundation. The summer series was created by the late Margaret “Peggy” Wingate Rase to recognize and honor her parents’ love of carillons and their dedication to the Davis Memorial Carillon.

Concerts are held rain or shine and guests are advised to bring folding chairs and warm clothes. The opening concert July 9 is being held as part of the Sixth Annual MostArts Festival hosted by Alfred University.

Hostess for the Carillon Recital Series is Laurel Buckwalter, Alfred University carillonneur emerita, who will be available to answer questions about the carillon. Guests are also welcome to climb the 69 steps to the top of the carillon, enjoy the view, and watch the guest artists perform.