Tower Music is a free community event, open to the public.

Tower Music is cherished tradition at the Bach Festival that began in 1936 with the Heralding Trombones, led for 25 years by Monterey grocer Chandler Stewart and then his son Gordon Stewart. Chandler had been a friend of Festival founders Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous – all were Bach fans. The trombone quartet opened every Festival in the early days.

In addition to playing from the balcony window of the Sunset Auditorium, they also played from the bell tower at the Carmel Mission, thus earning the name, “Tower Music.” Performing and “sounding the alarm” from towers and balconies is a centuries-old tradition, dating to the Middle Ages, utilizing ancient trumpets, trombones, horns, and drums. The Stewart family continued to perform Tower Music well into the 60s with the next generation of Stewart offspring until the brass section of the orchestra was asked to carry on the tradition in the 1970s, as it does today.


Tower Music 2024

Fanfares & Procession | Saturdays, July 13 & 20 at 6:45pm, Sunset Terrace

A Majestic Fanfare | Lou Harrison
Dances | Tielman Susato
Divertimento | Leonard Salzedo
Procession of the Nobles | Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov


Festive! | Tuesdays, July 16 & 23 at 6:45pm, Sunset Terrace

Suite | Samuel Scheidt
Duxbury Fanfare | Lauren Bernofsky
Inaugural Marches | Daniel Pinkham
Canzon III | Giovanni Gabrieli


Music for King Charles | Wednesdays, July 17 & 24 at 7:45pm, Carmel Mission Courtyard

Music for His Majesty’s Sackbuts & Cornetts | Matthew Locke
Sonatas | Johann Pezel


Ancient, Old & New | Fridays, July 19 & 26 at 6:45pm, Sunset Terrace

Suite of Dances | Anthony Holborne
Ancient Airs & Dances | Ottorino Respighi
The Thunderer | John Philip Sousa


Tower Music is one of the oldest traditions at the Carmel Bach Festival. It began in 1936 with the Heralding Trombones, led by two generations of the Stewart Family, Chandler and son Gordon, and the trombone quartet opened every Festival in the early days. The Stewart Family performed well into the 1960’s until the Festival Orchestra brass section was asked to carry on the tradition as it does today. They played from the balcony window of the old Sunset Auditorium which opened onto the parking lot – the window is still there, overlooking the foyer - and from the Carmel Mission bell tower, thus earning the nickname “Tower Music.”

Tower Music is a centuries-old tradition dating to the Middle Ages. Musicians utilized ancient trumpets, trombones, horns, and drums to call or signal attention to events and situations for the better (the arrival of royalty, weddings, pageants, hunts, jousts, and the hours) or for the worse (invading or marauding armies and other serious and life-threatening actions).

Our repertoire spans five centuries, from the Renaissance to present day. Tower Music is thrilling, exciting, and fun, lending a festive and joyful prelude to the Main Concert on Saturdays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Join us on the Sunset Terrace or at the Mission Courtyard (see schedule above) for a free 20-minute concert in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring the family, including the dog(s)!

This year on the Friday Tower Music program, we honor Cyril Yansouni for his tireless work and leadership as Board President the last 8 years. As a teenager in Alexandria, Egypt, he was quite a fan of John Philip Sousa and had heard nearly all of the marches that Sousa wrote. Thus, we have programmed The Thunderer to honor him. He has been one of Tower Music’s biggest fans and we are grateful for his dedication to the Carmel Bach Festival!


— Suzanne Mudge, Trombone, Tower Music Director

Tower Music Personnel

Leonard Ott, Greg Smith, Dominic Favia – Trumpets

Alex Camphouse - Horn

Tom Hornig = Alto & Tenor Trombone

Suzanne Mudge – Tenor Trombone

Wayne Solomon – Bass Trombone

TBA - Tuba

Kevin Neuhoff, Tim Dent - Percussion