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Gamelan Project Article by Alex Khalil

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

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

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.

Cudamani

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 Uhttp://bit.ly/1bEDoidbud, 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 cudamani.org.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya 25th Anniversary

Gamelan Sekar Jaya celebrates its 35th anniversary Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, 2015 in San Francisco with a program of traditional and new work for Balinese gamelan and dance, and the world premiere of “Mikrokosma” by guest performers of the Lightbulb Ensemble.

Sekar Jaya’s 60 performers, led by company director Emiko Saraswati Susilo and guest music director Bapak I Made Arnawa, will perform three new works created for the anniversary: “Pelangi” for gamelan jegog, “Eka Sruti” for gamelan gong kebyar, and “Suaran Toya” for gamelan angklung.

For details, see the Gamelan Sekar Jaya website and this article at San Francisco Classical Voice.

Info on the Lightbulb Ensemble.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya LA

For lovers of Balinese music and dance, this will be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a “hands-on” workshop and concert. The Music Center in downtown LA will host the Saturday, February 21 workshop and the concert on Sunday the 22nd.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya is internationally recognized as “the finest Balinese gamelan ensemble outside of Indonesia” (TempoMagazine). True to Balinese tradition, the Bay Area-based musicians and dancers learn the complex musical figurations and elaborate choreographies through intensive training with master teachers. The orchestra is composed of bronze metallophones, bamboo marimbas, tuned gongs, drums and flutes which the musicians play with technical precision and collective spirit. The performance includes the masked dance of Jauk Manis, the “sweet demon” character who is both mischievous and endearing.

Both events are free, but the Saturday workshop has limited space and an RSVP is required.

I Nyomen Wenten

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

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