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Culture news, 07.06.2004 13:10

Carillon master returns to the city

Carillon master returns to the city For five days after May 26, Petersburgers in the know were able to enjoy carillon concerts in the Peter and Paul Cathedral given by the Belgian master musician who was responsible for the reinstallation of this medieval instrument in St. Petersburg in 2001 and who has returned periodically since to perform and to promote the cause.

Jo Haazen is the director of the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, near Brussels. His enthusiasm and energy helped to collect the necessary $350,000, principally in Belgium but also in the U.S., Japan and Australia, for the manufacture, transportation and installation of the new carillon in St. Petersburg. As Haazen said, the project has now been expanded to include the installation of an additional instrument in Peterhof on its 300th anniversary next year and the establishment of a proper carillon school in Russia.

The carillon is a musical instrument with a keyboard and pedals controlling a set of bells to perform liturgical, classical and folk music. It was first introduced into Russia by Peter the Great, who acquired a couple of carillons during his travels in Holland. Eventually one of these instruments was installed in the Peter and Paul Cathedral within the Peter and Paul Fortress. But with the passage of time the carillons fell into disrepair and the concerts stopped until September 2001 and Haazen's first public concert at the fortress.

Now three years later, having heard from the director of the Peterhof State Museum that the Peterhof Palace also once possessed a carillon, Haazen is ready to do it again.

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