Image: Peter Schols
The Dutch Carillon will be officially rededicated in Washington on Thursday. The Netherlands donated it to the United States in the early 1950s, as a thank you for their contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation and its subsequent recovery.
The instrument, which resides in Arlington National Cemetery, has recently been restored, improved and expanded. American carillonneur Edward M. Nassor and his Limburg colleague Frank Steijns will play it on May 5 in a special “liberation concert”, and conductor and violinist André Rieu will also be on hand. The ceremony will also have a Ukrainian touch.
The event includes a specially recorded performance by Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. Soprano Madieke Marjon Schoots can also be heard. The aforementioned carillonneurs, whose resident of Maastricht is also a violinist with Rieu, will be accompanied on site by a quintet of the brass ensemble Washington Symphonic Brass. Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, will deliver a “speech on freedom”.
The much-needed restoration of the rusty chime began in October 2019. The sound was also disappointing from the start: not all sounds were matched equally well by luthiers working separately. The tower was restored and the fifty bells were sent to the Netherlands to be tuned and refurbished at a bell foundry in Asten. Three new bells were also cast and added. They are named after former Secretary of State George Marshall and human rights fighters Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt.
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