James Raymond Lawson, a master of the carillon, died on Oct. 14. Cause of death was not released. He was 84.
Lawson was studying English at the University of Chicago when he discovered the carillon. The largest musical instrument in the world, the carillon dates back more than five centuries. Carillonneurs sit in front of an oak keyboard and make music by pushing batons and foot pedals that ring a series of bells.
Lawson played the carillon at the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University before serving with the Army during World War II. When the war ended, he attended the Royal Carillon School in Belgium and studied music at the University of London, then spent several years playing the carillon at the University of Chicago.
From 1960 to 1989, Lawson rang the bells at Riverside Church in New York. He also taught music at Lehman College, gave concerts on the world’s most famous carillons and recorded several albums of carillon music.
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