JOHN COURTER has been a Professor of Music and College Organist at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky since 1971. He is also the College Carillonneur, since the college installed a 56-bell carillon in 2000. He teaches organ, piano, carillon, music theory and composition, and two Arts calluses in the General Studies program. In 1995 he was awarded the college's Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is organist at Union Church (nondenominational) in Berea. A native of Lansing, Michigan, he earned degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. His carillon studies were with Wendell Westcott at Michigan State University and Todd Fair at the Netherlands Carillon School, where he earned both the Practical Diploma (1988) and the Performing Artist's Diploma (1996).
Courter studied composition in the Netherlands with Jaap Zwart, Jr. His Gregorian Triptych and Evocation won prizes in an international Composers Competition and were published by the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. Other pieces have been published in Germany and the Netherlands. Recent commissions have included a Suite for the new Paccard carillon at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and Gaudi's Chimneys, a set of three dances for carillon composed in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi. On Sept. 15, 2001, Courter composed In Memoriam September 11, 2001 in tribute to those whose lives were lost in the terrorist attacks in our country. It was made available on the Internet, and has since been played on many of the world's carillons.
John Courter is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and has held chapter and state offices. He is on the Board of Directors of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and the World Carillon Federation. He has performed at the Bok Tower Gardens (Florida) Carillon Festival in 1996 and 2001, the World Carillon Federation Congress in Chambery, France and at the Berkeley (Calif.) Festival. In 1993 he was awarded the Berkeley Medal in recognition of his contributions to the carillon art.