Since the iconic carillon tower has been closed the campus has been a little quieter, and no one had been more affected than Mathieu Polak – the official carillonist of the university. During the reopening ceremony, Mathieu was invited to play the carillon again after more than a year. He couldn’t be any more content: “It really affected me to know that this place would be closed for such a long time. Currently I am really happy to resume my duty as carillonist again, and hopefully welcome any new student interested in learning the instrument”.

Special guest

During the opening, Emeritus Professor of Econometrics Jean Paelinck also attended the ceremony as special guest after he donated his own grand piano to the university. The instrument is now placed in the skybridge, open for any student to use and play. “I think the best contribution to the university I can make is to give my piano and make students happier. Of course, I am also really glad to be at this ceremony today!”

Illustrious skills

To complement the whole event three EUR students, Nour Mahmoud, Michael Hiskiyahu and Bonno Getz, were invited to be the first students to play the new grand piano. Each student showed their skills playing the piano in front of the invited guests.

“Honestly, I think this is one of the best things that has happened on campus for a long time” admits Psychology student and pianist Nour Mahmoud (19). “At EUR we barely have any music associations, and I am very grateful for the gift of this public piano. This will definitely become one of my favourite places in the campus”. Was she nervous playing in front of all the ceremony attendees? “Yes, a little bit. But before I started I looked back and waved and they laughed. After that I knew it was fine if I were to screw up.”

Frederieke Hoitink from Studium Generale, who organised the event, was also impressed by the renovation, and even more by the gift from professor Jean Paelinck. “I couldn’t believe it when he decided to give us his beautiful piano. I am sure many students will take the opportunity to enjoy it. Jean really wanted this for free, so all students are more than welcome to play here.”

Jean Paelinck met Ton van der Pijl en Frederieke Hoitink in gesprek 20190904_004M.Muus
Paelinck talking to Ton van der Pijl and Frederike Hoitink. Image credit: Michelle Muus

If you are musical, feel free to use the new grand piano on the skybridge. You could even try playing the ‘Erasmus Hymn’, a piece usually played weekly on the carillon and composed by professor Paelinck himself.