World premiere Carillon Call

12 April 2024

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Brand new composition by music legend Meredith Monk for the Oude Kerk carillon.

Invite someone along

Carillon Call, 2024
Composed by: Meredith Monk
With kind assitance of: Allison Sniffin
Carillonist: Boudewijn Zwart
Duration: 4.5 minutes

On Friday 12th April at 4:00 PM, Carillon Call, a brand new composition for carillon by music legend Meredith Monk, will resound. Amsterdam's carillonneur, Boudewijn Zwart, will mark the special world premiere of this piece, heralding the final weekend of the solo exhibition Meredith Monk: Calling (on display until 14th April). This approximately 4.5-minute piece, deeply rooted in Monk's vocal compositions, is episodic in nature, unfolding through subtle musical variations and meditative rhythmic phrases, culminating in strikingly playful dissonances. The bells of the carillon in the Oudekerkstoren can be heard from a great distance, but best experienced from Oudekerksplein.

Meredith Monk about her composition: “I began working on a first draft in 1995 for the carillon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then, the player left so it never happened. I transformed some of the material into a long piano piece, "Steppe Music", in 1997 but always wanted to hear what it was intended for, bells! There are bell-like passages in a lot of my music but this will be the first time that bells will really play it. I am thrilled!”

Oude Kerk x Giorgio Andreotta Calò hires 01

Icon of contemporary music
Meredith Monk (1942, NY) is a composer, singer, director, and choreographer. With her playful compositions, experimental films, intimate installations, and large-scale music theaters, Monk has been pushing the boundaries of vocal music, performance, and visual art for half a century. She is regarded as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time and is the pioneer of what is now called "extended vocal technique" and "interdisciplinary performance." Monk is praised as 'a wizard of the voice' and 'one of America's coolest composers'.

City carillonist

Boudewijn Zwart has been the city carillonist of Amsterdam for over forty years, appointed by the city to play the carillons in the church towers. These are historical musical instruments, the largest in the world. They typically consist of about 10,000 kilograms of bronze and can be played via the keyboard. Every Tuesday, Zwart plays the carillons of the Westerkerk, Zuiderkerk, and Oudekerkstoren. Zwart has several compositions to his name and regularly performs carillon concerts in the Netherlands and Europe. He is the president of the international carillonneur association Eurocarillon.

The Oude Kerk carillon
consists of 47 bells. The fourteen heaviest bells were cast by François Hemony in 1658. The remaining bells were cast by Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the years 1964/5. The carillon was completely restored in 2021.

Unique Retrospective

These are the final weeks of the exhibition Meredith Monk: Calling (October 21, 2023 – April 14, 2024). This first European overview celebrates Monk's visionary work and offers a unique retrospective of her influential interdisciplinary artistry. Monk transforms the church space into a singing body and immerses the audience in an audiovisual experience specially created for the Oude Kerk. The exhibition translates her live performances and concerts into encounters with captivating video and sound installations in the 700-year-old church.

more about the exhibition