Frank Steijns, violin and bells (page 8)
August 8, 2020. Frank Steijns celebrates his 25th anniversary as city carillonneur of Heerlen. Congratulations Frank!! Read the article on the Harmony Parlor blogspot: click HERE. Frank Steijns still crazy about “musical Karate”.
Click HERE to go to Frank Steijns, page 7.
Since the connection between carillon playing and karate is not explained in the article above, we still found another article in the “De Telegraaf” newspaper, by Eline Verburg, where it is explained more clearly. The article is titled: Consolation from the bell tower. We’ll add here some interesting extra sentences. In the Flemish (Belgian) town of Mechelen, the musical prodigy (Frank!) attended a tough course at the Royal Carillon Academy, while at the same time studying violin in Louvin (Belgium) at the conservatory. After an appointment in the city of Weert in 1994 as city carillonneur - in the St. Martinus church, which has one of the heaviest carillons in the Netherlands, weighing a mere 20,000 kilos, - he followed respectively in 1995 and 1997 his father in the cities of Heerlen and Maastricht. Since he plays his home-built mobile carillon in André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra in addition to the violin, he is considered the most frequently playing carillonneur in the world. Moreover, the heavy instrument is typically from Dutch / Flemish origin. “In the United States, for example, they only have ten carillons. For comparison: only the city of Amsterdam already has ten carillons”, Steijns says enthusiastically. “During the corona lock-down I noticed that the music of the carillon brought a lot of comfort. The bells have survived wars and disasters and always continue playing. That historical awareness creates a sense of connectives. That was also felt in other cities, especially when all the carillons of the major churches throughout the Netherlands played at the same time on March 20: “You'll never walk alone”. Shortly before Easter I played “Have mercy” by Bach, from the St Matthew Passion, but I also sometimes alternate the music with something more cheerful, like: “Always look on the bright side of life”." The carillonneur is also looking forward to the arrival of the Belgian Elien Van den Broeck (August 18), who is, at sixteen years old, the youngest carillon player in the world. "It is all the better that she is also a Belgian karate champion," laughs Steijns. "That seems to be a crazy combination, but playing the carillon is a top sport: operating the bells via a keyboard is even a bit like karate." The bells are "controlled" by a keyboard, with wooden sticks and pedals connected to the clappers. “That is hard work. I myself do strength training for my arms. My leg muscles are already well developed by all that climbing the stairs in the towers. Playing for 45 minutes is enough, otherwise it will be too tiring.”
Photo credits: Jan-Paul Kuit, Marcel van Hoorn.
August 12, 2020. Frank Steijns: 25 years The rebellious carillonneur! Interview with Frank Steijns, by L1, Limburg TV. Duration of the video: 6 minutes. Translation Ineke/John, subtitles Ruud.
Nederlandse Beiaard School. Carillon School in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
On August 13th, Frank played on the Heerlen carillon, together with violinist Enzo Kok and L1 presenter Emil Szarkowics, clarinet. At that time there was a heatwave going on in the Netherlands. Duration of the video: 40 minutes.
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