Gamelan and Dance

The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī (NZSM) invites you to another free Night Hub event, and it’s going to be a good one.

Dancer with gamelan ensemble

Transport yourself to the temples of Bali and courts of Java with the NZSM’s captivating gamelan orchestras and visiting Indonesian dancers, for an evening of ‘Gamelan and Dance’ in The Hub on Friday 22 March at 6pm.

Recognised for its unique sound, gamelan is a ‘gong orchestra’, consisting mainly of bronze percussion. The two most well-known styles of gamelan are from Central Java and the Gong Kebyar of Bali. Both these ensembles will perform in the concert.

NZSM Director, Professor Sally Jane Norman says the unique sound of the gamelan is unlike anything else, and is a rich inspiration to contemporary music—including that developed by the NZSM’s Composition Programme—thanks to its extraordinary timbral and rhythmic qualities, and notably its ability to conjure up waves of breathing, beating sounds through subtle tuning techniques.

Classical dancers from Bali and Java train from early childhood to perfect the intricate gestures of Indonesian dance. The visiting dancers will perform alongside the captivating sounds of the gamelan.

Gamelan has been performed at the University since 1975. The first set of instruments was a village gamelan from Cirebon (north Java), purchased by the late Allan Thomas. In 1980 the Indonesian Embassy gave the University a Javanese gamelan set (pelog) on permanent loan, and in the mid-1980s the University purchased a matching set of slendro (five-note) instruments.

In 2003 New Zealand composer Gareth Farr purchased a Balinese Gong Kebyar, named Gamelan Taniwha Jaya, and housed at the NZSM. The University’s students now have the opportunity to experience the sound worlds and repertoire of two contrasting gamelan traditions.

Bookings are not necessary for ‘Gamelan and Dance’ and everyone is welcome.

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