UC Berkeley press release

NEWS RELEASE, 11/07/97

Former UC Berkeley carillonist Ronald Barnes dies at age 70

by Julia Sommer


BERKELEY-- Ronald Barnes, Carillonist at the University of California at Berkeley from 1982 to 1995, died Monday (11/3/97) of leukemia at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco. He was 70.

Performer, teacher, composer, and carillon scholar for half a century, Barnes developed a style of carillon composition radically different from Europe's based on the larger size and different sound of North American carillons. His music is now considered the model of writing for the carillon all over the world.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1927, Barnes began playing the carillon at 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. He numbered many of today's most prominent carillonists as his students.

Barnes was a man of many parts. His humorous, elegant line drawings of carillons and organ cases have delighted people over the years; his writings on a variety of topics probe deeply; and his ready wit and inimitable way of telling stories made him beloved by many.

Barnes is survived by his sister, Katherine Kaufman of Lexington, Nebraska.

A memorial recital will be played on UC Berkeley's carillon on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2 pm. In the meantime, many of Barnes' compositions are being played during UC Berkeley's 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.

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