The University of Kansas has upheld a tradition of excellence in its carillonneurs since Anton Brees played the dedication recitals in May 1951.
Albert Gerken, University Carillonneur (1963-2000)
Albert Gerken Professor and University Carilloneur, emeritus Albert Gerken has been Carillonneur at the University of Kansas since 1963. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of New Hampshire (1960) and the Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan (1962). He majored in organ at both institutions and, while at the University of Michigan, began studies in carillon with the late Percival Price, noted campanologist and carillonneur in North America.
Gerken has been a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America since 1962. During that time he has served on several standing committees, the Board of Directors, for four years as editor of the Bulletin, the official publication of The Guild, and for five years as treasurer.
Over the years he has performed a wide variety of programs at KU which have included surveys works of important eighteenth century carillonneurs as well as significant carillon compositions of contemporary composers. He has been a featured recitalist and lecturer/clinician at many GCNA congresses since joining The Guild and has appeared as a guest recitalist throughout North America and Europe.
Gerken has premiered many new carillon works and several have been dedicated to him. Many of his own carillon compositions, arrangements and collected works are widely performed and have been published by The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and American Carillon Music Editions.
Ronald Barnes, University Carillonneur (1951-1963)
Ronald Barnes (1927-1997) served as University Carillonist at The University of Kansas, Washington National Cathedral, and the University of California at Berkeley. While at Berkeley he was a member of the faculty of the Department of Music and at Kansas he taught music history and literature.
Barnes began his long association with the carillon in 1946 at First-Plymouth Congregational Church in his native Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was also assistant organist to Myron Roberts, his organ teacher from 1941 to 1950. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in organ from the University of Nebraska in 1950 and went to Stanford University in California for his Master of Arts degree in music history. While at Stanford he also played the carillon in the University's Hoover Tower.
In 1948, Barnes studied carillon with the late Robert Donnell at the Canadian houses of Parliament. That same year he became a member of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and subsequently served that organization in various capacities as Vice-President, President, and editor of music publications and the Guild's Bulletin. He also served on the Committee for Professional Concerns of the World Carillon Federation.
For many years Barnes advocated and was a major force in establishing an American approach to carillon performance, composing, and arranging. His numerous compositions and arrangements for the instrument have become a staple of the modern carillon repertory, not only in North America, but also overseas, and many of today's outstanding carillonists began their association with the carillon as his students.