Gamelan Project Article by Alex Khalil

Alex Khalil’s Gamelan Project Smithsonian Article

Gamelan aficionados and music educators alike with find much of interest in this great Smithsonian article on the value of music education for kids by Center for World Music board member Alexander Khalil, PhD. Dr. Khalil offers important observations on attention in children, impaired temporal processing, ADHD, and the benefits of bi-musicality.

Our research has found a connection between the ability to synchronize with an ensemble in a gamelan-like setting and other cognitive characteristics, particularly the ability to focus and maintain attention. Our current work explores whether improvements at interpersonal time processing, or synchrony, may translate into improved attention.

Also of interest in this article is Alex’s account of the history of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, based on his experience as a founding instructor during and after the program’s 1999 inauguration in San Diego at the Museum School:

The gamelan program at the Museum School has its philosophical roots in [pioneering ethnomusicologist] Mantle Hood’s well-known concept of “bi-musicality.” Just as one who is bi-lingual must have fluency in more than one language, one must be fluent in more than one musical language to be considered bi-musical. Robert E. Brown, who studied under Hood at UCLA and subsequently founded the Center for World Music, made his first efforts to bring world music, a term he is credited with having invented, to the elementary classroom in 1973 through his “world music in the schools” program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Read the full text of this article on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art website.

Find out more about Dr. Khalil’s work at UCSD’s Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center.

And here’s a nice video documenting the ongoing gamelan program at the Museum School.

Hirotaka Inuzuka

The Center Welcomes Gamelan Artist Hirotaka Inuzuka to World Music in the Schools

We extend a warm welcome to Hirotaka Inuzuka, who joins World Music in the Schools as a teaching artist. Hirotaka will be Balinese gamelan instructor at the San Diego French American school, beginning this fall.

A specialist in Indonesian gamelan music, Hirotaka began playing Balinese gamelan during his undergraduate studies in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. He continued to deepen his knowledge of Indonesian music and dance at California Institute of the Arts under the mentorship of I Nyoman Wenten, where he earned his MFA in World Music Performance. He continues to travel to Bali regularly to expand his expertise and study with Bali’s most renowned artists and teachers.

Currently Hirotaka is a prominent member of many gamelan groups in the greater Los Angeles area, such as Burat Wangi, Pandan Arum, and Bhuwana Kumala. He has performed in the United States, Japan, and Bali, participating in events such as the Bali Arts Festival and Bali Mandara Mahalango. In October of 2014, he played as part of Performing Indonesia at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Hirotaka has taught gamelan privately, as well as at workshops and community classes in Southern California, including the “Music of Bali” series at Art Share LA in 2014 and at Glendale Community College in 2015. In 2014, he established Sekaa Gambuh Los Angeles, a group dedicated to play the music of Gambuh dance drama. Facing extinction due to Bali’s modernization, Gambuh is one of the oldest surviving Balinese dance forms.

With his focus on teaching and performing gamelan music, Hirotaka has opened his own community gamelan studio in Tujunga, California, where he teaches and trains new players in order to further the preservation and performance of gamelan music in North America.

See Hirotaka Inuzuka on YouTube: Interview and Profile | Hirotaka’s YouTube Home Page

Fond Farewell to Putu Hiranmayena

We are pleased to share that Putu Hiranmayena, Balinese gamelan musician and much loved teaching artist for the Center for World Music, will be pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Ethnomusicology in the fall of 2015.

To help bid Putu a happy journey we asked Phil Beaumont, Director of the Museum School and David Harnish, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Music Department, University of San Diego, to write a few words on their experiences working with Putu.

When one walks into the classroom, whether young or old, one can immediately feel the essence of Putu’s passion for Balinese gamelan and, in particular, teaching it to children. HIs smile is contagious, and sets a tone for our students to learn to love the intricate music they play. Putu understands that music is meant to be enjoyed and to be a part of who we are. After teaching students the many possible variations of a piece, he allows them to take ownership as a group and develop their own arrangements for performance. In doing so, he has captured them as musicians, and they can then capture their audience. A true gift.

— Phil Beaumont, Director of the Museum School


For me, I Putu Adi Tangkas Hiranmayena just showed up. I had no idea that other parties (e.g., Alex Khalil, The Museum School, the CWM, and his father [I Made Lasmawan]) had played a part in bringing him to San Diego. Putu contacted me out of the blue, told me he was the son of Pak Lasmawan (a good friend), and volunteered to join the USD Gamelan Ensemble, which I had just started the previous year. What a stroke of luck! Putu had not done a lot of work directing ensembles before coming to San Diego, but he was a skilled musician and drummer and knew a number of tunes. I immediately arranged a stipend for him, and later asked that he direct our gamelan (Balinese gamelan angklung), which he did for two years.

I saw him blossom into a fine and dynamic director, adding his own innovative ideas here and there to the repertoire. He communicated well with our students and got everyone excited about playing as he increased the tempo. He also demanded that students play with precision. We at USD will really miss him and I will personally miss him a lot, but I am very proud of his accomplishments and know he will be in good hands at University of Illinois, where he will team with I Ketut Gede Asnawa and the ethnomusicology faculty. His ideas of metal and gamelan and contemporary music may come further to fruition. Hopefully, we will all see him again some day back in San Diego. I intend to visit him in Bali as well and to meet him at ethnomusicological conferences.

— David Harnish, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Music Department, University of San Diego


putuhiranmeyaWe always knew Putu would one day continue his formal education in ethnomusicology and experimental arts academia. The Center for World Music bids him the best in all of his future endeavors, and thanks him for his contributions to our musical and cultural efforts in San Diego.

While pursuing his Ph.D., Putu will continue work in Balinese gamelan, improvisation, and high adrenaline activities. This includes development of theories in embodiment and creative practices. He hopes to start a gamelan ensemble emphasizing real-time composition.


Study Music and Dance in Bali in July

The Çudamani community in Pengosekan, Bali, is offering a three-week Summer Institute in Balinese gamelan and dance, July 7-26, 2015. The village of Pengosekan, a traditional center of the arts, is just south of U, at the cultural heart of the island.

Share three weeks of intensive learning with musicians, dancers, students, scholars and people from around the world who LOVE the arts. You will gain a new understanding of the richness of Balinese arts and be inspired by the powerful commitment to community that is at the core of Bali’s beautiful culture.

Teachers include several of the most renown artists in Bali. The programs of Çudamani (pronounced Soo-dah-MAH-nee) are widely respected.

For more information visit

I Nyomen Wenten

USD Gamelan to Perform with I Nyoman Wenten, December 9

The USD Balinese Gamelan performs on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. The program will feature dance master I Nyoman Wenten, a long-time friend of the Center for World Music, as guest performer.

Enjoy the music of Bali, Indonesia at this concert performed by USD’s Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, named Gunung Mas (Mountain of Gold), directed by IPutu Hiranmayena and assisted by David Harnish, PhD. This concert will feature several special guests: Dancer I Nyoman Wenten and drummers I Wayan Budha and Tyler Yamin. The gamelan is an ensemble of metallophones, gong-chimes, cymbals and drums, and highlights energetic interlocking musical parts.

University of San Diego, Department of Music.

USD Gamelan Flyer


Gender Gamelan

Gendér Quartet: Balinese Gamelan at Seaport Village

The CWM Summer Music Series: Seaport Village, 2015

Enjoy a free summer concert of Balinese metallophone music in beautiful Seaport Village!  The Gendér Quartet, featuring I Putu Hiranmayena and Alex Khalil, will delight your ears with the music of the famous Balinese shadow puppet theater.

A shadow puppet performance is accompanied by gendér wayang music—in which a quartet of musicians plays on ten-keyed metallophones in a complex interlocking style. The gender wayang repertoire is wide ranging in mood and texture in reflection of the dramatic variety of the play; the musicians must respond instantaneously to the many changes in dance movement, voice, and dramatic development as the story unfolds.

Admission is free, so bring friends and family!

When you arrive at Seaport Village, stroll to the East Plaza Gazebo.

Financial support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

13th Annual Payangan Festival in Bali

Flower Mountain, Payangan, Bali

Lewis Peterman, Artistic Director /  Wayan Tubek, Technical Director

Created by the distinguished American ethnomusicologist and former president of the Center for World Music, Dr. Robert E. Brown, an annual summer world music and dance festival was established in Payangan village, Bali in 2002. The multi-day Payangan Festival’s primary focus has always been the performing arts traditions of Indonesia (music, dance, and theater), especially Java and Bali. However, traditional performing arts from Africa, China, India, and Europe have also been featured.

The 2014 Payangan Festival in Bali features two similar musical traditions from two different cultures thousands of miles apart: Indonesia (Bali) and Africa (Zimbabwe). The gamelan selunding music of Bali and the mbira music of Zimbabwe share characteristics in common: ancient musical instruments fabricated from metal that produce complex interlocking musical parts appropriate for sacred ceremonies where both the music and the ritual are intended to induce an altered state of consciousness as a pathway to the spiritual world.

Payangan Festival 2014

Make Music Day San Diego

Join the inaugural event of Make Music Day San Diego in Balboa Park with Putu Hiranmayena performing on the Balinese gender wayang followed by a rare opportunity for you to play it yourself. The presentation sponsored by the Center for World Music will start at noon in the Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Check out the full schedule of Make Music Day events from 10AM to 6PM at


Music of the Balinese Shadow Theater

The Center for World Music is happy to sponsor a performance of Balinese music as part of the 2015 Taste of Asia event in Balboa Park. World Music in the Schools teaching artists Putu Hiranmayena and Alex Khalil will perform the music of the Balinese shadow puppet theater, or wayang kulit.

Taste of Asia is a two-day celebration of performance, crafts, and food. It starts at noon on Saturday, September 26 and ends on Sunday, September 27. The grand finale is a Moon Festival, boasting performances from China and fireworks, at the Organ Pavilion on Sunday evening.

Financial support for Music of the Balinese Shadow Theater is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Asian Traditions at USD

Celebration of Asian Traditions

A celebration of music and dance from across Asia with some of the best practitioners of traditional arts in Southern California.

The program will feature kulintang and gangsa flat gong ensembles from the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center, the Ostrich Ensemble presenting Thai classical dance and music, Japanese shakuhachi played by Alex Khalil, Mongolian horsehead fiddle played by Charlotte D’Eveyln, Lao mouth organ played by Christopher Adler, and Balinese music and dance presented by USD’s own Gamelan Gunung Mas with special guest I Nyoman Wenten.

$10 general admission; $8 seniors, USD faculty, staff and alumni; and $5 for students with valid I.D. Purchase tickets at the door or online:

Purchase Tickets

Presented by the University of San Diego Music Department with the support of the USD Provost’s Office, the USD Asian Studies Program, the Center for World Music, and the Worldview Project.

SD Commission for Arts and Culture

Museum School Balinese Performance

Balinese Gamelan at the Museum of Photographic Arts

Center for World Music teaching artist Andrea Hernandez will lead her students in a colorful and dynamic performance of Balinese gamelan music at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), located in beautiful Balboa Park in the heart of San Diego. This exciting, free performance will be offered by students from the Museum School, which is located nearby in Bankers Hill, where students grades K–8 study this fascinating musical art form every week throughout the school year.

This performance will occur in conjunction with MOPA’s Reverberate: Sound + Image 13th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition, showcasing the photographic talents of youth in San Diego and Tijuana. This year students responded to the theme “Sound.” The exhibition highlights the students’ imaginative approaches to visualizing what we can hear but not always see. Admission to the museum exhibitions is on a “pay what you wish” basis.

Canyon Crest Academy Javanese Gamelan Concert

Come and experience an outstanding concert of traditional Javanese music, featuring the gamelan ensemble of Canyon Crest Academy High School in Carmel Valley, accompanied by visiting musicians and singers from CalArts. They will perform a program of Javanese gamelan music, led by Center for World Music master teaching artist in residence Pak Djoko Walujo Wimboprasetyo. Admission to this event is free to the public!