Gamelan is a still thriving ancient Indonesian form of music.
Its hypnotic sounds and melodies, multilayered rhythms and unique
treatment of tempo have much impressed various modern Western composers
as well (e.g., Debussy, Satie, Bartók, Cage, Reich, Glass, Ligeti). The
Hungarian gamelan group Surya Kencana A will present pieces from an
extraordinary repertoire of Central Java, in which they will be assisted
by guest artists from Hungary and beyond. The magic of the evening will
be enhanced by the performance of some traditional dances.
Smith discovered Gamelan as a
music student at York University (UK). He received a scholarship to continue
his studies in Indonesia where he enrolled at The Academy of Indonesian Arts
Surakarta (STSI Surakarta; currently ISI Surakarta) between 1992–1995. During this time he also worked as a
professional gamelan performer with a diverse range of ensembles, including
village wedding bands, all-night wayang (puppet show)-backing groups, palace
orchestras, and night-time street buskers. Since returning to the UK, he has
taught at every level of the education system principally at the Southbank
Centre in London, and has been
instrumental in the setting up of many of the UK’s Gamelan programs. He leads
the acclaimed London-based group Siswå Sukrå
which toured Indonesia in 2017 and 2018.
Dr. Sarah Weiss (PhD,
New York University, USA) is a senior researcher and faculty member at the
Institute for Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts
Graz (Kunst Universität Graz, Austria), where she also leads the Central Javanese
gamelan ensemble Rara Saraswati. Earlier she held positions and directed
gamelan ensembles at The University of Sydney (Australia), Harvard University
(USA), Yale University (USA), and Yale-NUS College (Singapore). Her earlier and
continuing research focuses on the cultural and musical analysis of Javanese
gamelan performance, in particular old-style wayang puppet theater. She is
the author of Listening to an Earlier Java: Aesthetics, Gender, and the
Music of Wayang in Central Java
(2006), and Ritual Soundings: Women Performers and World Religions (2019).