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Gamelan concerts for Indonesian earthquake victims

6 June 2006

Gamelan concerts for Indonesian earthquake victims

The New Zealand School of Music’s two Indonesian percussion orchestras are to hold a series of benefit concerts to raise money for the relief effort in Yogyakarta, recently hit by a devastating earthquake.

The Gamelan Padhang Moncar (Javanese) and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya (Balinese) had planned to visit Yogyakarta in July to perform at the 2006 Gamelan Festival but have postponed their trip until next year. Instead they will mount a series of concerts in the region, in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Paekakariki and Waikanae, in support of the relief effort in Indonesia.

Associate Professor Jack Body said the two groups had been fundraising to go to the Festival for four years and agonised long and hard about whether to attend.

“We decided it would be inappropriate for us to place ourselves in that situation at this time, where so many people are traumatised and homeless, and where resources of food and lodging are so stretched. Instead it would be better to commit our energies and our passion for this music, to help raising funds for the people in distress, to the culture that has given us this wonderful music in the first place.”

Associate Professor Body said while Balinese and Javanese ensembles had superficial similarities, the programme would highlight the startling contrast between the often refined and serene nature of traditional Javanese gamelan, and the fast-paced extroversion of the Balinese tradition.

“The Javanese gamelan often uses a vertical fiddle in the quieter pieces and features the astonishing voice of the gamelan director, Budi Putra. The Balinese music is often loud and fast with sudden changes – the instruments are tuned slightly differently from each other producing a shimmering effect.”

In these concerts, the Javanese gamelan will present traditional music, plus new compositions by resident Balinese musician and composer, I Wayan Gde Yudane, and also well-known New Zealand composer, Gareth Farr.

Concert dates:
Sunday June 11, 1pm, Pataka Museum, Porirua
Wednesday June 14, 12.15pm St Andrews Church, The Terrace
Sunday June 18, 2pm St James Church, Lower Hutt (followed by an Indonesian pasar (bazaar) in the church hall)
Sunday, June 25, 3pm Waikanae Community Hall, Waikanae

Donations will be collected at the conclusion of each concert.

Since 2005, Victoria University and Massey University have been operating a joint New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), a centre of musical excellence. The NZSM website is


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