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ASU student wins carillon composition contest

April 21, 2017

Cameron Robello, a senior majoring in music composition and theory in the Herberger School of music, has won the 2017 Robert X. La Pat Carillon Composition Contest, sponsored by the ASU Carillon Society, with his composition titled "Lux Tintinnabulis."

The contest is underwritten by Laurie and Kenneth Polaski of Scottsdale in honor of La Pat, an award-winning Scottsdale composer.

Robello, from Mesa, Arizona, will receive a $250 cash prize. He said that in approaching composing a work for the 258-bell Symphonic Carillon, he both “listened and played. 

With research, including a fair amount of listening to carillon music and playing ASU’s carillon, I picked up on the shimmery, shining timbral elements in the bells that I thought carried potential to support an entire piece. 

“The most significant (and I think relevant) challenge for any composition, at least as it stands for my composing process, is purpose... the ‘why am I writing this’ question. My purpose with most of my recent work revolves around drawing out and making audible the sonic characteristics inherent in the raw sound material at hand.

“Whatever I draw out of the instrument needs to be both relevant to the instrument or ensemble and completely unique. Otherwise, the piece could have been written for anything! In the case of 'Lux Tintinnabulis,' the result must be sensitive to the sound of the carillon.“

Judges in the contest were University Carillonneurs William Swayze and Kevin Snow, and Jody Rockmaker, professor of music composition and theory. Rockmaker said, “Lux Tintinnabulis, creates interesting harmonies and sonic possibilities. The ideas are simply stated at the opening and evolve in convincing ways through the piece. I find it has a pleasing and satisfying form. The music is presented in a manner that promises free performance and interpretation.”

Robello is a classical guitarist and also performs on his laptop.

The 258-bell Symphonic Carillon was a gift to the university in 1966 from Associated Students of ASU. It is a memorial to those who gave their lives in service to their country. For more information send an e-mail to

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