O.L. Vrouwetower Amersfoort  

AMERSFOORT - On Saturday 9 June 2007 the Nederlandse Klokkenspel-Vereniging organized in cooperation with and on the initiative of Beiaard Centrum Nederland an International Carillon Competition on the carillon of the O.L. Vrouwetower in Amersfoort. All 58 bells, in the range b-flat0 - chrom. - g5, were cast in 1997 by Royal Bell-foundry Eijsbouts in Asten and tuned in equal temperament. The carillon has a standard North-European keyboard.

The same tower also houses a second carillon of 35 historic Hemony-bells and a peal of 7 swinging bells. With this last set of bells, which were cast in 2000, the tower possesses exactly 100 bells.

Members of the jury were Bernard Winsemius (carillonneur and organist), Liesbeth Janssens (carillonneur), Peter Bremer (carillonneur and carillon teacher), Gijsbert Kok (carillonneur and organist), and Arie Keijzer (manager 'Scholen in de Kunst Amersfoort'). The compulsary piece and the freely chosen work(s) were equally appraised by the jury. The sequence in which the participants played was decided upon by drawing lots. Therefore participants were judged anonymously.

The contest started at 10.00 hours and ended with the prize-giving ceremony at 17.00 hours. The competition consisted of two categories: carillonneurs with a diplome and carillonneurs without a diplome. In all 13 carillonneurs from Japan, South Korea, Belgium, and The Netherlands accepted the challenge of this competition.

The five carillonneurs competing in category B (still without a diplome on 1 January 2007) performed in the morning. For this category the compulsary pieces were Study 1 and Study 2 of Zes ritmische studies of Wim Franken (b. 1922). The winner of the first prize was Jan-Geert Heuvelman from Rijssen. He played a recently composed new work of Mathieu Dijker called Nieuwe Toren-spel and gave also a fine interpretation of Fantasia II composed by Jef Rottiers. The second prize was awarded to Esther Schopman from Enschede. She played as free work the impressive Les Cloches des Clochards written by Jurriaan Andriessen.

The six contestants in category A (with diplome) played in the afternoon. For this category the compulsary work was Danse Nocturne, a piece also composed by Wim Franken. Franken, who was present during the contest, celebrated his 85th anniversary this year. The jury was unanimous in the decision to award the first prize to Jasper Stam from Kampen. He was very convincing with his playing of Movimenti, a piece written by Geert D'hollander. Second in line was Toru Takao, currently living in Amersfoort, who played as free chosen music the Prelude & Arioso of Henk Badings and an arrangement of The Hut on Chicken's Legs from Moussorgsky's Pictures of an exhibition.

After short speeches of NKV president Henk Lemckert and jury chairman Bernard Winsemius the prizes were presented by Arrien Kruyt, alderman of the city of Amersfoort. After this ceremony alderman Kruyt invited all participants, members of the organization, and other guests for a drink.