Friends of the Gamelan and University of Chicago Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble: an Evening of Javanese Music and Dance

Friends of the Gamelan and the University of Chicago Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble will present their annual spring concert on Sunday, April 25, 2010, at 6:00 PM at Hyde Park Union Church, located at 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave. Joko Sutrisno returns once again as guest artistic director. Dancer Tri Sutrisno will also be a special guest.

Chicago, IL, April 21, 2010 --( Joko Sutrisno will lead the combined ensembles in a program that features three dances: a traditional golek dance, a recently choreographed dance by Waluyo portraying the grace of swans, and a piece drawing its inspiration from the classical Manipuri dance form of India. These works promise to be a delight to the eye as well as the ear. The program will also include several traditional central Javanese gamelan pieces, among them the lancaran Tropongbang and the ladrang Kapi Dhondhong. The program also features works composed in the 20th century, including the lovely ketawang Manggung Sore, the strong and forceful gendhing Jaladara, and the joyful Bingah, with its unusual multi-part vocal line.

Gamelan (traditional Indonesian music and instruments) incorporates an ensemble of “hammered” metal percussion, drums, strings, bamboo flutes, and vocals, resulting in a collective sound in which the contribution of no single part is separable from the ensemble. Classical central Javanese gamelan music incorporates sophisticated composition and elaboration of musical form. In Java, gamelan music is not only played at concert events but is also used to accompany theater and dance performances, as well as celebrations of births, coming of age, weddings, harvest rituals or other auspicious functions.

A graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Surakarta, Central Java, Joko Sutrisno is a gifted gamelan performer, composer and teacher. He directed the gamelan at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand before coming to Minnesota in 1995 to develop a gamelan program and performing ensemble for The Schubert Club. Currently he directs the gamelan program for the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota (IPAAM), including the Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble. He is an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota.

Tri Sutrisno is a talented dance performer, choreographer, and teacher. She began studying Javanese dance at the age of seven and continued her training under the direction of Bapak Mulyoni, dance master in the Court of Java. She has taught and performed in Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United States. She is now based in Minnesota, where she collaborates with dance, music, and theater groups.

The community-based Friends of the Gamelan was founded to perform music on the Javanese gamelan from the 1893 Columbian Exposition, instruments which are still housed at the Field Museum today. FROG has been bringing traditional and contemporary gamelan music and educational programs to audiences for 30 years. The University of Chicago Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble collaborates with Friends of the Gamelan to provide free beginner’s lessons to students and the community, along with workshops and performance opportunities. For information on Friends of the Gamelan, please visit For complete event listings for the Department of Music, visit Suggested donations of $10 ($5 for students and children) will be accepted at the door.

University of Chicago Department of Music
Rashida N. Black