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Ripple Effects (2018)

For carillon

Commissioned by Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
First performance on Friday, 25 May 2018 by Joey Brink, Ellen Dickinson, Frans Haagen, and Tiffany Ng
Duration: 5 minutes

Three versions are available:
4 players (with many additional players joining in as piece accumulates) 72 bells, F-compass. This is the original composition. (Edited by Joey Brink)
2 players, 53 bells, G-compass. (Edited by Joey Brink)
2 players, 48 (or 47) bells, C-compass. (Edited by Joey Brink)

Performed LIVE in the 4-Hand Version by Joey Brink and Michael Solotke (live unedited performance recorded informally)

CD Available
Portrait of Augusta Read Thomas

This work is available on


This work is available on
Augusta Read Thomas: The Auditions


Ripple Effects World Première - Rockefeller Carillon New Music Festival 2018
Joey Brink, Frans Haagen, Ellen Dickinson, Tiffany Ng, carillon with Elsa Mundt, Xibai (Sylvia) Wang, Joshua Kaufman, Michael Sloyan, Shu Zhang, John Tienken, Vera Wünsche Brink, and others


Ripple Effects for Carillon, a commission from Rockefeller Chapel, is dedicated to Elizabeth J.L.Davenport— Dean of Rockefeller Chapel, compassionate spirit, innovator, visionary, arts devotee, and dear friend – in celebration of her ten years as Dean.
Elizabeth Davenport is radiant, elegant, brilliant, expressive, graceful, fun, beautiful, generous, sophisticated, and positive. I am humbled by this opportunity to compose a carillon work in her honor. The Dictionary definition of ripple effect reads in part: “A situation in which one person or event causes a series of other events to happen; the long-term repercussions of an event or situation experienced far beyond its immediate time or location; the spreading effects experienced as the result of a single person or event.” The title Ripple Effects hopefully captures the potency and influence of Elizabeth’s magnificent life-force, efforts, leadership, and positive energy.
I care about craft, clarity, and passion. My works are organic and, at every level, concerned with transformations and connections. The carefully sculpted musical materials of Ripple Effects are agile and energized, and their flexibility allows a way to braid harmonic, rhythmic, and contrapuntal elements that are constantly transformed — at times whimsical and light, at times poignant, at times layered and reverberating.
Across Ripple Effects’ 5-minute duration, it unfolds a labyrinth of musical interrelationships and connections that showcase the musicianship of Joey Brink, Tiffany Ng, Ellen Dickinson, Frans Haagen and many other carillon players in a display of rhythmic agility, counterpoint, skill, energy, dynamic range, clarity, teamwork, and majesty. Throughout the kaleidoscopic journey, the work passes through many “ripple layers”. The first layer is scored for 2 players (4 hands and 2 feet;) then two more players are added; then two more players are added, and so forth. This additive process continues until the final culminating sound of the composition - a chord where every one of the 72 bells in the carillon are rung together, as played by many people. As far as we know, this is only time that every bell has been simultaneously rung and, for this world premiere, performed by many people who love Elizabeth. The chord’s unique, dramatic, and reverberant sound waves symbolize the endless swell, flow, spread, and resonance of countless ripple effects that Elizabeth as put in motion.
Music’s eternal quality is its capacity for change, transformation and renewal. No one composer, musical style, school of thought, technical practice, or historical period can claim a monopoly on music’s truths. Commissioning new art is leap-of-faith! The commissioner does not know what they will receive. I feel profoundly fortunate for the investments made by Rockefeller Chapel and the many carillon players and devoted my strongest, most focused efforts to composing Ripple Effects in honor of Elizabeth.
When feasible, please remain quiet until the final chord is no longer audible. This might take as long as a full minute. Thank you.


Even in a catalogue as multifarious as Thomas', the carillon piece Ripple Effects stands out as a one-off. Commissioned by Rockefeller Chapel and requiring multiple players, the work is described by the composer as 'a labirynth of musical interrelationships and connections' that increases in complexity as more and more players are added to this ever-expanding spiderweb of peals. Ultimately, the simultaneous sounding of all Rockefeller Chapel's 72 bells is the only logical conclusion!

Copyright © Paul Pellay

Selected Reviews

Graham Rickson, TheArtsDesk, 31 October 2020 "It’s fabulous, and unlike anything I’ve heard all year."

Gabby Bayness, The Chicago Maroon, 20 April 2020 "The piece emulates the motion of a ripple, as a simple duet grows with the addition of more players. The final massive cluster chord brings together 18 musicians into a final and triumphant ring of all 72 bells in the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Carillon. The largest of the bells, Big Laura, weighs 18.5 tons and can vibrate for up to 30 seconds; her ring can be heard from over a mile away, demonstrating that the carillon’s music resonates across the entire community surrounding the tower."


Elizabeth Davenport
Photo Credit: Erielle Bakkum

Ellen Dickinson

Frans Haagen

Tiffany Ng with bells. Photo Credit: Michael Pihulic

Michael Solotke

Joey Brink. Photo Credit: Erielle Bakkum

Snapshot at a rehearsal of Ripple Effect

The final chord: All 72 bells simultaneously rung. Photo by Renske Vrolijk

To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.