April 23, 2021RTV Maastricht: interview with Frank Steijns about the clockworks in the tower of the Maastricht Town Hall. Program: De Ontmoeting: “The Meeting”.Duration: 12 minutes. Translation Ineke/John. Thanks to Jean Raemaekers from Maastricht, who brought the video to our attention.
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Are you interested to read more about the little bells event of 2012, as a promotional kick-off for the competition of Cultural City 2018? Click HERE.
July 1, 2021. Tower festival in Weert.One violin against 20.000 kilos of bronze. From the Martinus tower in Weert (Limburg).Listen to this beautiful arrangement of the Gypsy Song, played by Alina-Lin Merx-Jong and Frank Steijns.Video: Eric Kessels AV.
July 13, 2021. Tower festival in Weert.This performance is truly amazing! It gave us goosebumps. Frank invented a totally new dimension inplaying the carillon. Corona proof from the tower to the audience in the city below. Huub van der Lubbe is the lead singer of the Dutch pop band “De Dijk” (The Dike). The song is about rippling waters, which gave us mixed feelings because currently the South of Limburg is badly flooding….(It was performed prior to the flood).
August 7, 2021:Frank: Out of my comfort zone!!City carillonneur goes viral with a heavy metal song by the British band Motörhead, performed from a church tower by bells and guitar.Click on the picture to go tothe Harmony Parlor to read the article which appeared with the video.
August 9, 2021, by: Classic FM.Proof that bellringers are the original metalheads.Sitting before a carillon’s baton keyboard, musician Frank Steijns was preparing to unleash some thundering church bells onto the unsuspecting people below.His music of choice? ‘Ace of Spades’ by ‘70s hard rock band Motörhead.Steijns’ magnificent carillon treatment of the heavy metal hit was part of this year’s Torenfestival (Tower festival) in Weert, a city in southeastern Netherlands.Watch below as he expertly strikes the hefty bells, and fills the streets below with an unforgettable cover of the 1980 single. Steijns wasn’t alone during his rendition, as Jitse Zonneveld joined him in the city’s gothic Sint Martinuskerk (Saint Martin’s Church) on his electric guitar.The marriage of church bells and heavy metal has caused quite a stir on the Internet. (It went viral! today: 422.000 views on YouTube. The British rock band has even watched the performance, tweeting: “Here’s one we really like”, with a link to watch the video.
August 9, 2021: A review by the world’s biggest pop magazine “Rolling Stone”:Now another act of irrefutable celestial grace has offered more proof that the late Lemmy Kilmister, he of the blessed warts and the snaggletooth, is indeed a deity worthy of worship. Last month, church bells in Weert, Holland, rang out the whole of Motörhead’s iconic “Ace of Spades.”At 3 p.m. on the afternoon of July 17th, a crowd of confused grannies stared up at a belltower in the city center to hear guitarist Jitse Zonneveld and organist Frank Steijns bash out a raucous, chiming rendition of the song. It’s cacophonous, a little out of tune, and wholly holy as Steijn uses his fists to find all of Kilmister’s anti-melodies on his keyboard (actually a “carillon,” for those versed in ecclesiastical instrumentation).The best part, of course, is the breakdown when Kilmister would typically sing: “You know I’m born to lose and gambling’s for fools, but that’s the way I like it, baby, I don’t wanna live forever,” because Steijn plays it in a janky diatonic harmony. The fact that there are improbably drums in the recording on YouTube is another example of divine provenance. When they finish, the gathered café dwellers and tourists in Weert for the annual Torenfestival applaud and holler gleeful hallelujahs in the tongues of Motörhead.
Thanks to Motörhead: carillonneur Frank Steijns will play the carillon on May 5, 2022, at the National Cemetery in Washington.April 9, 2022, "De Limburger," by Ivar Hoekstra. Translation by John de Jong.Carillonneur Frank Steijns (52) will perform on 5 May in Washington DC on the restored Netherlands Carillon for a freedom concert. "It will sound over the National Cemetery where so many lay who fought for our freedom. John F. Kennedy notably is also buried there, and that I may play there is a great honor," says the Maastricht native.What a few minutes of video on YouTube can lead to. As a little something extra, Steijns posted a video on a social platform last summer wherein he plays on the carillon in Weert Motörhead's metal classic "Ace of Spades." together with guitarist Jitse Zonneveld. The video went viral and the band Motörhead was so impressed that they sent Steijns and Zonneveld a Motörhead T-shirt as a thank you. "Because of that video, the Dutch embassy in Washington came to me and invited me to play the carillon on May 5. They saw that clip and thought: Him, we must have! Then you realize how large a scope YouTube has."Queen JulianaThe carillon in Washington is not just a carillon, it was the national gift of the Netherlands to America as thanks for the liberation. "Given by Queen Juliana during her first state visit to America. Only the carillon never did sound good, because the bells were poured by three different Dutch bell foundries instead of one, which is much better for the homogeneity of the sound quality. It was another typical Dutch polder solution: to distribute the assignment fairly and equally. Now the bells have been restored by bell foundry Eijsbouts in Asten, the Netherlands and finally they sound like they should."The 5 May concert will be dedicated to freedom. "I am playing the carillon together with my American colleague Edward Nasser and my wife Madieke Marjon, will sing two songs from "The Bells." Text by Edgar Allan Poe, in a composition for song and carillon which I wrote on behalf of Yale University."Metallica At the special request of the Americans, Steijns will also play some modern music. "Since in the US the combination of carillon with modern music is not well known, but they are curious about that. The first part will mainly be music to honor the dead, but in addition to that I will also play works by Glenn Miller, the Stars and Stripes Forever march, so also some modern music pieces. I still have to make that selection, but I'm thinking about, for example, "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. Also because this would fit very well in terms of the program."According to Steijns, bells have been a symbol of peace and freedom for centuries. "Because in times of war these large copper bells were often the first victims, they were confiscated and melted down to make weapons. When the bells rang again, you knew the war was over. The carillon used to be the radio of the people. Napoleon stripped it of its ecclesiastical ties and the government then determined what was to be played on it and by whom. That is still the case, as a carillonneur I am also a civil servant appointed by the government."Good times, bad timesThe bells are increasingly playing modern music. That started in the early nineties with the carillonneur of the Utrecht Cathedral who at one point let the tune of "Good Times, Bad Times" reverberate over the city. Now it is very common to use the carillon for special occasions. "The people love it, the reactions are purely positive. I think it has to do with the contrast: bells, hundreds of years old, which were already sounding when the barge was still passing through the Meuse and people transported themselves by horse and cart through the city, that, since now those bells now are playing pop classics, which fascinates people. And at the same time, there's something magical about hearing them sound throughout the city, because the range of those bells is enormous. It is the greatest musical instrument that exists and really of a different order than a violin or a flute."EducationAs city carillonneur of Maastricht, Weert and Heerlen and he is also a violinist in André Rieu's orchestra, so Steijns is a busy man. Aren't there any new carillon players who can take some of the pressure off his shoulders? "There are two places where you can learn the profession of carillonneur, one in Utrecht (NL) and the other in Mechelen, Belgium. But the problem is that you can't practice at home. For that you have to go to a place where there is a carillon, which is a big hindrance. I now do have a student myself, the Russian soprano Anna Emelyanova."When Steijns on 5 May is the first to bring the restored Netherlands carillon back to life in Washington, he will undoubtedly think of Motörhead for a moment, because the rendition of their metal classic put him on the radar of the embassy in Washington. "While I didn't really know the band well, it was Jitse Zonneveld who was the real superfan. But I still have the Motörhead T-shirt in my wardrobe and there will probably be an opportunity that I can play "Ace of Spades" and then I will definitely put on that T-shirt!"The freedom concert with carillonneur Frank Steijns will be streamed on 5 May via the site of the Dutch embassy in Washington. *Note, May 5 in the Netherlands is celebrate as liberation day in WWII Photo credits: Arnaud Nilwik.
Preparing King’s Day 2022 (April 27th) for the indoor concert that evening in the Theater of the Vrijthof.Frank Steijn’s mobile carillion.
Dutch carillon in the US starts new life with the help of Frank Steijns and André Rieu.May 5, 2022.The Dutch carillon will be officially rededicated in Washington, DC on Thursday. The Netherlands donated this to the United States in the early 1950s (May 4, 1954), as a thank you for its contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazi occupier and to its subsequent recovery.The instrument, which can be found at Arlington National Cemetery, has recently been restored, improved and expanded. The American carillonneur Edward M. Nassor and his Limburg colleague Frank Steijns will play it this 5th May during a special 'liberation concert', and conductor and violinist André Rieu will also be involved. The ceremony will also have a Ukrainian twist.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, of whom the Maastricht resident is also a violinist with Rieu, will be accompanied on the spot by a quintet of the brass ensemble Washington Symphonic Brass. Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, will deliver a 'freedom speech'.The much-needed restoration of the rusty carillon started in October 2019. The sound was also disappointing from the start: not all sounds were equally well matched by the makers who worked separately. The tower was restored and the fifty bells were sent to the Netherlands to be tuned and refurbished in a bell foundry in Asten. Three new bells have also been cast and added. They are named after former Secretary of State George Marshall and after human rights fighters Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt.
May 2022: L1: Limburg Central.Frank Steijns, Carillonneur of the cities Maastricht, Weert and Heerlen, played a freedom concert in Washington, DC, USA.May 5th, a Liberation Day with a special touch for Frank Steijns, who played the freedom concert at the Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington DC. American war heroes are buried here, includingPresident John F. Kennedy. De concert is organized by the Dutch embassy.
May 27, 2022.7-year-old Nicole fled the war in Ukraine with her mother. She plays the piano very well and today she went up the tower with the carillonneur to play the town hall carillon. She did very well too!!
Frank is playing the Dutch National Anthem “Wilhelmus”.