Ronald Barnes, campus caril-lonist from 1982 to 1995, died Monday, Nov. 3, of leukemia at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco. He was 70.
Performer, composer, a member of the music department faculty and carillon scholar for half a century, Barnes developed a style of carillon composition radically different from that common in Europe, based on the larger size and different sound of North American carillons. His music is now considered the model of carillon composition all over the world.
Born in Lincoln, Neb., in 1927, Barnes began playing the carillon at Lincoln's First-Plymouth Congregational Church. He earned his B.Mus. in 1950 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his M.A. at Stanford University in 1961.
He was university carillonneur at the University of Kansas in Lawrence from 1951 to 1963 and cathedral carillonneur at the Washington National Cathedral from 1963 to 1975. He came to Berkeley 1982 as the first university carillonist, following enlargement of the carillon from 48 to 61 bells.
In 1948 Barnes became a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. In the following decades he served in many important positions in that organization, including editor of the Bulletin, archivist, adjudicator on the examination committee, vice president and, in 1963, president.
His scholarly research on early carillon music resulted in editions of several early manuscripts. He served as consultant for a number of important carillon installations and wrote numerous articles on many aspects of the carillon art.
As a performer, although essentially self-taught, Barnes was nearly without peer. The refinement and vigor of his performances, coupled with a sturdy musicianship, made him an important recitalist. Many of today's most prominent carillonists were his students.
Barnes also delighted people with his humorous, elegant line drawings of carillons and organ cases; his writings on a variety of topics; and his ready wit and storytelling gift.
Barnes is survived by his sister, Katherine Kaufman of Lexington, Neb.
A memorial recital was played on the Sather Tower carillon Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. Many of Barnes' compositions have been heard this month during campus' thrice-daily mini-carillon concerts.
Donations in his memory may be sent to the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, c/o Jeff Davis, 46 Mott Place, Oakland, CA 94619.