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Lecture at Goethe Institut Jakarta

Contemporary Composition in an Intercultural Context: Gamelan and the West

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Wann 11.03.2020
von 07:00 pm bis 09:00 pm
Wo Goethe Institut, Jakarta
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Contemporary Composition in an Intercultural Context: Gamelan and the West

 

It is no new finding that Western composers have been fascinated by Indonesian Gamelan music. However, they reacted in quite different ways. First, it has been mainly American composers like Lou Harrison, Colin McPhee or Jody Diamond (to name just a few) who have worked in that direction. In Europe, the situation  was more difficult, and it lasted until the 1960s or 1970s that such “meetings” came into being, especially in rock and jazz. On the other side, Indonesian composers started intensively to be occupied with Western traditions and developments. On both sides, the respective attempts revealed a lot of problems but also some interesting solutions. Composers like Slamet A. Sjukur, Michael Asmara, Toni Prabowo, Dody Satya EG, Madé Arnawa or Rahayu Supanggah (just name a few as well) have created compositions that have been composed in that “bi-cultural” realm. But it was even more the younger generation like Septian Dwi Cahyo, Matius Shanboone, Iwan Gunawan or Dewa Alit (and others) that went deeper into the topic.  As one of the responsible persons for various composition competitions for South East Asian composers (Asian Youth Ensemble Bangkok), I quickly became aware that the ultimate discussion mostly turned towards the compatibility of the used instruments, beside the problems of the different musical languages of the respective music cultures. Completely new questions arose, far away from Mauricio Kagel’s “Exotica”, and they could only be solved partly with electro-acoustic media. Therefore, this lecture/workshop  shall discuss intensively the problems just mentioned above, but also finding (or suggesting) some solutions.  The main example will be a recent and still ongoing production of a composition by Dieter Mack for Javanese pelog/slendro Gamelan (Kyai Fatahillah with Iwan Gunawan) and Solo-Percussion(Max Riefer), commissioned by the Festival Essen NOW on 1st of November 2020.