Isn’t it grand
It’s a beautiful Thursday morning on the Diag and the sounds coming from the Baird Carillon inside Burton Memorial Tower are sassy, expressive, and eccentric, not the typical fare one associates with a gothic tower and its mournful chimes.
That’s just the way assistant professor and U-M carillonist Tiffany Ng likes it. From her private concert hall high above the Michigan campus, Ng subverts tradition and makes it a point to commission, debut, and showcase underrepresented composers. She actively seeks out work by African-American composers, including Trevor Weston (who she met on social media). She also is on the quest for female writers and recently arranged a piece intended for toy piano by Phyllis Chen. Contemporary, living composers are her carillon jam.
“The carillon repertoire was developed with the assumption that listeners were white, male, and Christian,” she says. “I really feel we have a responsibility to all the people who have been marginalized by carillon music to arrange and compose for them too.”
In addition to conducting research and teaching, Ng presents two 30-minute concerts per day on the University’s two grand carillons, the Baird on Central Campus, and the Lurie Carillon on North Campus.
Ng holds degrees in musicology and new media and loves to experiment with technology, sounds, and genres. She is one of only seven full-time carillonists in the country. Ng will be on a faculty fellowship in the near future, but will be back to ring your bells before you know it.