Experience the Carillon

Listening to the carillon, which has been played here since 1927, is a bit like time traveling. Tracing back to the European low countries in the 16th century, the historic instrument was installed here as a gift from the class of 1892. Its 35 concert-pitch bells, which range in weight from 14 to 12,880 pounds, have become synonymous with Cleveland Tower.

Considered the largest musical instrument in the world, a carillon consists of a series of at least 23 tuned bells, played from a keyboard that allows expressiveness through variation in touch, and on which the player, or carillonneur, can play a broad range of music—from arrangements of popular and classical music to original compositions.

Attend a Concert

Weekly Recitals

  • Every Sunday at 1:00 p.m. by University Carillonneur Lisa Lonie
  • Tuesday and Thursdays, 11:30am - 12:30pm
  • Saturday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Note: The carillon is silent during exam periods.

Summer Concert Series

For more than 25 years, summer nights with the carillon have been a Princeton tradition. Our 2021 theme was “Tuning the Sky.” Watch this space for 2022 dates and plans.

Learn to Play

Intrigued by the idea of making music out of 20 tons of bronze?

Join the carillon student studio! The carillon is played from a console or clavier, and coordination is very similar to that of an organist, where hands and fists operate batons and feet play pedals.

  • Instructor: University Carillonneur, Lisa Lonie
  • Dates / Times: Every Sunday after the 1:00 p.m. recital (except during Ph.D. exams)
  • Cost: Free
  • Suggested Experience: Prior keyboard experience is a plus, and the ability to read key signatures up to three flats and three sharps is helpful. 

Note: Access to the carillon requires the use of stairs.

Make a Request

Want to hear your favorite song? 

Email your request to University Carillonneur Lisa Lonie, with the subject line: “Carillon request.”  We cannot guarantee that all requests can be played, but our carillonneur will try her best! Please include:

  • Your name
  • Song title
  • Artist/composer
  • Sheet music (if possible)

Meet the Carillonneur

Lisa J. Lonie, University Carillonneur

University Carillonneur, Lisa J. Lonie

In September 2012, Princeton University named its 4th University Carillonneur, Lisa J. Lonie.  She is the first female to hold the position in the carillon’s +85 year history.

Lisa began her carillon studies as a teenager with Frank Law, carillonneur at the Washington Memorial National Carillon in Valley Forge, PA.  She is a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), former juror and chair of the Carillonneur Examinations Committee, and has served on its Board of Directors.  She currently serves on the Music Heritage committee of the GCNA. Lisa is also the carillonneur at St. Thomas' Church, Whitemarsh (Pennsylvania), and at The Church of the Holy Trinity (Philadelphia) which houses the oldest carillon (1882) in North America.  She’s a regional carillon instructor for the North American Carillon School, an affiliate of The Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” of Mechelen, Belgium.

Known for her musical wit and creative programming, Lisa has performed in internationally acclaimed carillon festivals, conferences, and several national congresses of the GCNA. She is one of the featured performers on the CD recording, “Princeton Carillon, Class of 1892” and was on the NBC television special "Ringing in the Holidays at Longwood Gardens." More than 5,000 copies of her CD, The Bells of Christmas at Longwood Gardens, have been sold.

Lisa is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with dual degrees in German and Economics. Beyond her musical interests, she is Executive Assistant to the President of Salus University.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts about the Princeton Carillon:

  • Grover Cleveland Tower is 173 feet to the roof.
  • The carillon contains 67 bells, all at concert pitch.
  • The largest bell, the Bourdon sounding G2, weighs 12,880 pounds.
  • The smallest bell weighs 14 pounds.
  • The first 35 bells were cast and installed in 1927 by Gillet & Johnson (England). Subsequent additions to the instrument occurred in 1943, 1966, 1968 and 1993 with bells from the Paccard Foundry (France) and Petit & Fristen Foundry (The Netherlands).
  • The carillon was renovated and rededicated on June 13, 1993.
  • There are more than 180 carillons in the U.S..
  • There are three other carillons in New Jersey: St. Georges-by-the-River, Rumson (26 bells cast in 1934 by Taylor); St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Morristown (47 bells cast 1924, 1952 by Taylor, Paccard); Grace Church Carillon, Plainfield, NJ (47 bells cast 1923 by Gillet & Johnston).

Visit the Carrillon

Cleveland Tower

88 College Road West, Princeton, NJ 08544

Directions and Parking

Want to climb the tower? 

Contact the Porter’s Lodge for details.

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