Saint Rombolds tower  

MECHELEN - Since its foundation in 1922 the Royal Carillon School 'Jef Denyn' in Mechelen (Belgium) has been involved in the support and development of the art of carillon playing. As part of this effort, the school organises the 'International Queen Fabiola Carillon Contest' in cooperation with the city of Mechelen. This contest, widely recognised as the most prestigious of its kind, provides a powerful stimulus for the recognition of carillon playing as an artistic expression of the highest level.

The winners of the former contests have acquired international fame: 1987 - Geert D'hollander, 1990 - Boudewijn Zwart, 1993 - Gideon Bodden, 1998 - Tom Van Peer, 2003 - Twan Bearda.

The sixth international Queen Fabiola Carillon Contest will take place from 10th to 14th of September 2008. Carillon players from all over the world are invited to participate; there is no age-limit.

Candidates should submit 9 compositions of a high degree of virtuosity:

  • Three baroque or classicist works, one of them being a prelude by Matthias Vanden Gheyn
  • Three romantic works originally composed for carillon
  • Three contemporary works also originally composed for carillon
Included with their application candidates shall send one copy of each musical score. These scores may not show any references or indications from which the name or the nationality of the participant could be traced. An obligatory work is to be performed at the selection test and in the finale.

All performances will be played on the new carillon of the Mechelen Saint Rombolds tower, cast by Royal Eijsbouts, Asten (Netherlands) in 1981. This carillon is comprised of 49 bells from b-flat0 – c1 – d1 – chrom. – c5 (c1 sounds like g0). Candidates are offered the opportunity to practise on this instrument as well as on the study keyboards in the carillon school.

The selection tests take place on Wednesday the 10th and, if necessary (depending on the number of candidates) also on Thursday the 11th of September 2008. During the selection tests all candidates will perform three works: 1. the obligatory work, 2. one work chosen by the candidate, 3. one work chosen by the jury and selected from the candidate's repertoire.

The order of performing is assigned by lot. Performers are unknown to the members of the jury. The five competitors who receive the highest marks will be selected for the finale. Those who are not selected for this final round, obtain an allowance of EUR 125.

The finale will take place on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th of September 2008 at 7.30 PM. On Saturday finalists will perform three works chosen by the jury: 1. one baroque or classicist, 2. one romantic, 3. one contemporary.

On Sunday the candidates will perform: 1. the obligatory work as the contemporary composition, 2. a baroque or classicist work chosen by the jury, 3. a romantic composition also chosen by the jury.

Five prizes have been put up:

  • First prize: EUR 3000 - Prize of the minister of culture of the Flemish Government.
  • Second prize: EUR 2000 - Prize of the province of Antwerp.
  • Third prize: EUR 1500 - Prize of the town of Mechelen and the Mechelen City Guides league.
  • Fourth prize: EUR 1300 - Prize of the town of Roeselare and the Royal Tower and Carillon Society 'Jef Denyn'.
  • Fifth prize: EUR 1000 - Prize of Mr. A. Jans, honorary president of the Archeological Society and Mr. P. van den Broek, honorary director of the carillon school.
  • Extra prize: EUR 1000 - Prize of SABAM for the best interpretation of a Belgian contemporary work.

Applicants should send their curriculum vitae with a suitable photograph, the 9 scores and their choice of work to be performed at the selection test, before 15th May 2008 to the Royal Carillon School 'Jef Denyn', Frederik de Merodestaat 63, B-2800 Mechelen, Belgium.

The organisers may refuse any submissions that do not meet the required standards. No appeal against their decision is possible. After approval by the organisers, candidates will receive a confirmation and additional practical guidelines.