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International convention of carillonneurs features compositions by Carillonneur John Courter

A recital honoring the carillon music of John Courter, internationally known as a performer and composer for the instrument, will be featured during the 68th Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA,) on June 15 at 8 p.m. at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Carillonneur John Courter

The recital will feature a variety of works all composed by Courter and performed by guest recitalists.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, including driving directions for those who might be interested in attending the concert, visit

John Courter is one of the leading present-day composers for the carillon. He has won several international prizes with his original compositions for the instrument and his works have been published in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States as well as performed on carillons throughout the world. He has written works commissioned by the Palace of Government in Barcelona, the cities of Utrecht, Kampen and Almelo (The Netherlands), the Arts Council of Ireland, the University of Michigan and Grand Valley State University. Courter has found inspiration for his compositions in many places. His “Rilke Fantasy” was inspired by a writing by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and his works ‘Vicitmae paschal laudes” and “Te Deum laudamus” use elements of Gregorian chant. “In Memoriam – Sept. 11, 2001,” a 3 ½ minute piece written in 2002 to honor victims of that event, has been played around the world. One of his compositions is also included in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and Grove online.

At Berea College, Courter is College organist and College Carillonneur, where he has regularly played Berea’s 56-bell carillon in Draper Tower since it was installed in 2000. The carillon recently was designated the “John Courter Carillon.” Courter joined Berea’s faculty in 1971 and retired from classroom teaching as professor of music in 2007. A native of Lansing, Mich., Courter earned degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He also holds diplomas from the Netherlands Carillon School. In 1993, Courter was awarded the prestigious Berkeley Medal for Distinguished Service to the Carillon as a performer and composer.

In 2009, Courter was featured in a video highlighting the restoration of the Chimes.

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