ALBERT GERKEN has been Carillonneur to the University of Kansas (KU) since 1963. He holds the B.A. degree from the University of New Hampshire (1960) and the M.M. degree from the University of Michigan (1962). He majored in organ at both institutions and, while at the University of Michigan, began his studies in carillon with the late Percival Price, noted campanologist and carillonneur in North America.
Mr. Gerken has been a member of The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) since 1962. During that time, he has served on several standing committees, the Board of Directors, the editor of the Bulletin (official publication of the Guild), and also as music consultant and copyist for the music publications of the Guild.
Over the years he has performed a wide variety of programs at KU which have included surveys of works of important eighteenth-century carillonneurs as well as significant compositions of contemporary composers. He has been a featured recitalist and lecturer at many GCNA congresses since joining the Guild and has appeared as a guest recitalist at most of the significant carillon installations in North America and Europe. In addition, he has been a guest recitalist at meetings of the International Carillon Federation and, in 1990, taught at the Dutch Carillon School and performed a series of fourteen carillon recitals throughout Belgium and The Netherlands.
Mr. Gerken has had many of his carillon compositions, transcriptions and arrangements performed throughout the United States and Europe, several of which have been published by GCNA and American Carillon Music Editions which include the complete 32 flute clock pieces of Franz Joseph Haydn, an edition of 91 selections from the manuscript of eighteenth-century carillonneur Joannes de Gruytters, the complete clock music of George Frideric Handel, and a new performance edition of the carillon Preludes of the eighteenth-century carillonneur Matthias van den Gheyn.
Most recently, Mr. Gerken has overseen the total renovation of the KU carillon, a two-and-a-half year project designed to improve the sound and playing action of the carillon which included newly designed keyboards, bell frame, clappers, playing action, and clock mechanism. In addition, he oversaw the complete refurbishment of the playing rooms in the Campanile.
Climaxing this project was the rededication of the carillon on April 26, 1996, followed by the annual Congress of GCNA held at KU in June, 1997, which Mr. Gerken organized and hosted.