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Belle ringer; American expert hits town for tour finale.

Byline: Dan Warburton

NEW Yorker Tiffany Ng had a ding dong time as she put the tune in the Toon to give Newcastle a taste of the Big Apple.

American Tiffany, who studied in New York, crossed the Atlantic to send chimes echoing across the city as she performed at the Civic Centre's carillon.

In a tiny room tucked at the top of a narrow staircase - more than 250ft above the ground - Tiffany performed a one-hour carillon recital.

With music ranging from Bach classics to John Courter's contemporary sounds, Tiffany let the bells peel.

The 26-year-old - who is a world-renowned carillonneur and is now earning a PhD in musicology at the University of California, Berkeley - was in Newcastle to perform for the finale of her European tour.

She said: "Coming to Newcastle was the finale of a European tour that I have spent the last month doing.

"The bells here are really glorious, they are some of my favourite to play. I'm really pas-sionatabout new and contemporary music.

"It really is an honour to come here. There's only a few carillons in England and that's because the tradition is so important.

"I've just come up from playing at York Minster, and that was also incredible."

The internationally-renowned Canadian bell ringer performed on the Edith Adamson Memorial Carillon, a 25-bell set which was given to the city by James Wilfred Adamson in 1967 in memory of his late wife.

Cast in bronze, carillon bells are played from a keyboard which has batons for the hands and pedals for the feet. Housed in the copper-clad bell tower, the bells, which weigh 22,760kg, the bells are just one of 13 that exist in the UK.

They have been played regularly since they were installed, but for the past 17 years Dr Ian Brunt, also a world-renowned player of carillon bells, has provided the musical backdrop for Saturday shoppers.

Dr Brunt started playing carillon bells at Loughborough in 1982 while studying medicine at Leicester and continued his interest in the instrument when he returned to Newcastle to work at the RVI.

Last night Dr Brunt said: "Tiffany is a really distinguished performer, so it's amazing to get someone like that here.

"You play the instrument like an organ or a keyboard. It's very physical to use - like going for a five-mile run. I go swimming and do 70 lengths, five times a week, to keep fit so I can play the instrument."

For a video, go to


TOON TUNE Tiffany with resident player Dr Ian Brunt. DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH Tiffany Ng with the Carrillion bells, which are in a room 250ft above the ground inside Newcastle Civic Centre.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 30, 2009
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