Iowa State carillonneur to perform on Mahanay carillon Saturday

Dr Tin-Shi Tam, university carillonneur at Iowa State University

A special carillon concert to conclude the Tower Tunes Live summer series will be performed Saturday, Sept. 1, at 11 am by Iowa State University carilloneur Dr Tin-Shi Tam and five of her students.

When the Mahanay Memorial Carillon was expanded to 47 bells from 14 in May of 2017, the Bell Tower Community Foundation hoped to host professional carilloneurs.

The Foundation is hosting the Saturday concert in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Gardens board of directors. The Gardens and the courthouse lawn are perfect places to hear the concert and concert-goers are invited to bring a lawn chair to sit back and enjoy the music.

A light lunch will follow at the Welcome Center in the Thomas Jefferson Gardens with attendees having a chance to listen to Tam and her students share their thoughts on playing the carillon. The public is invited to attend this free event.

The keyboard Tam plays at Iowa State University is a traditional carillon played by striking the batons with fists and pressing the pedal keyboard with feet. Tam and other musicians climb the stairs to the top of their carillon to play the instrument.

The Mahanay Memorial Carillon is played with a traditional keyboard much like an electronic piano. It is located one level above the lobby, accessed by a shorter set of stairs. More than 40 musicians with two years of piano experience through professional musicians have played the local carillon since the installation of the additional bells for a four octave carillon. This will be the first time that Tam will play this instrument.

Bell Tower Community Foundation Board member Peg Raney explained, “Dr. Tin-Shi Tam is world-renown as a carillonneur. There are only four carillons in Iowa and Jefferson is fortunate to attract this caliber of expertise to our Mahanay Memorial Carillon.”

Thomas Jefferson Gardens board member and one of the Mahanay Maestros, Becky Greiner, said, “Jefferson has had a long history of hosting outstanding musicians and bands. We look forward to featuring our first carillonneur. What an opportunity!”

Tin-Shi Tam, a native of Hong Kong, is the Cownie Professor of Music (university carillonneur) and the chair of the keyboard division. She holds a doctor of musical arts degree in organ from the University of Michigan. At present, she is a jury of the associate carillonneur examination committee of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America.

A celebrated artist on carillon and organ, Tam has given recitals in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. As an active clinician, Tam has given master classes, lectures and education programs extensively. Her carillon compact disk “The Bells of Iowa State” was released in 2004.

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