Friends of the Gamelan, Inc.

Dedicated to the performance and instruction
of Javanese gamelan music in Chicago since 1980


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Gamelan Concert
Saturday, October 25, 2014 • 4:00 p.m.
A. F. Siebert Chapel
Carthage College
Kenosha, Wisconsin
 
We return to Carthage College for an afternoon of traditional and modern Javanese gamelan music. This is our third performance at Carthage College, and we greatly appreciate this opportunity to play once again for an enthusiastic audience in this exceptional venue.

This performance is free and open to the public.

Javanese Gamelan Classes
at
Old Town School of Folk Music
Eight-week course begins October 29, 2014

Click here to register

Gamelan music has influenced contemporary musicians from Squarepusher to John Fahey to Sonic Youth. This class will introduce the basics of gamelan instruments, compositional structure, and performance. Students will learn the lancaran song form and will have the opportunity to play all of the instruments in the gamelan. Students will play on an authentic set of Javanese instruments provided by Friends of the Gamelan and housed at the Old Town School. Students who complete the class are welcome to join the Friends of the Gamelan Performance Ensemble. If you have an adventurous spirit and are looking for a new and different musical experience, this is the class for you!

The class is led by our own Peter Ludwig, who is eager to share his wide-ranging knowledge accumulated over 15 years of playing gamelan music.

Classes are offered on an ongoing basis, so please check the registration page at the Old Town School for the latest status. You may be able to join the class in progress, so you are encouraged to attempt to register even if the start date has passed.

Past Events


Destination Asia Summer Festival
The Morton Arboretum • Lisle, Illinois
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 2:30 p.m.
- AND -
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 2:30 p.m.

We were delighted to have been invited by The Morton Arboretum to perform at the Destination Asia Summer Festival. Enthusiastic crowds, sunny weather, and a beautiful natural setting all made for a memorable experience. Festivalgoers enjoyed a panoply of cultural and musical offerings from Asia, including a Japanese koto ensemble, a Chinese mystical dragon dance, Japanese taiko drummers, Philippine dances, and, of course, Javanese gamelan music. Thanks to the friendly folks at The Morton Arboretum for including us in this amazing festival.

chicago park district
Night Out in the Parks
Javanese Gamelan Music Workshop and Concert
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Midway Plaisance Park

Several intrepid souls joined us in celebrating Chicago's rich musical history for Make Music Chicago Day! Gamelan music once again filled the air of the Midway Plaisance, not far from the site of the Java Village at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Our repertoire included Bima Kurda, rendered just as it was in 1893. Alas, our performance was cut short by a summer storm; whether this is a another tradition from 1893 has been lost to history.

This program was presented as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Night Out in the Parks. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan.



Photo by Jesse McQuarters

Thanks to all of the volunteers, performers, and audience members who made our 2014 spring concert one of the most memorable ever! We were joined by guest artistic director Midiyanto, guest musicians Heni Savitri and Marc Benamou, and guest dancers Realiska Hayati, Dyah Minarno, and Tri Kumara Siddhi.

Special thanks to Andriana Supandy, Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia–Chicago, and Bernadeta Pratiwi, Consul, Information and Social Cultural Affairs, Indonesian Consulate–Chicago, for making this performance possible.


Featured audio track

MERAK SUBAL laras pelog pathet barang
Friends of the Gamelan • Spring 2012 • Joko Sutrisno, guest artistic director
Merak Subal accompanies Tari Merak, the peacock dance, which has many variants throughout Southeast Asia. It is a modern dance that uses many classical dance idioms to depict the Java green peacock, which in nature has an elaborate dance ritual. Although we may think of the bird as haughty, ill-tempered, and noisy, in Java it is perceived as cheerful and undeniably beautiful. The graceful movements of the dancers illustrate these characteristics. The peacock dancers are always female, even though they are portraying a male bird.

For more audio tracks, check out our music sampler.

Donate to Friends of the Gamelan

The Friends of the Gamelan Endowment has been established to ensure a bright future for community gamelan education and performance in Chicago. Now more than ever, your donation to the Endowment is crucial to our continued success. There is a giving level for every budget.

Wayang Kulit • November 2007
A brief video excerpt of a traditional shadow puppet show with music by Friends of the Gamelan and the University of Chicago Gamelan Ensemble, Joko Sutrisno on kendhang, and dhalang Midiyanto.

Our Spring Concert CD from May of 2008 is available for purchase on CD Baby. Recorded in the acoustically thrilling sanctuary of Hyde Park Union Church under the artistic direction of Joko Sutrisno. Expertly recorded and engineered by our very own David Hunter.

Performance Ensemble

The Performance Ensemble meets at Hyde Park Union Church on most Tuesday evenings. You are welcome to join us if you have previously studied Javanese gamelan music or dance. There is typically a modest class fee.

If you have not previously studied Javanese gamelan music and would like to learn, you are welcome to attend the free beginning gamelan class that is offered in the fall.

For more information, please contact info@chicagogamelan.org.

Can We Play For You?

As a small, not-for-profit musical organization, Friends of the Gamelan supports itself in part through paid performances. We have been privileged to perform at a variety of Chicago's landmark venues, including Millennium Park, the Field Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute. (Alas, it would impractical for us to play for loose change on Chicago's legendary El platforms.) We have also performed at special occasions such as weddings, art openings, and birthday celebrations.

If you are interested in a unique and memorable listening experience, please contact us at info@chicagogamelan.org for information on pricing, availability, space requirements, etc.

Looking Back


Opening the Vaults:
Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair

December 21 and 28, 2013
Luring millions to Chicago in 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was a glittering showcase of architecture, culture, technology, and peoples from around the globe. One of the many exotic attractions on the Midway Plaisance was the Java Village, complete with a Sundanese gamelan. We were pleased to participate in this retrospective and marked the occasion by performing some of the same pieces that thrilled fairgoers in 1893.

A Journey to Indonesia
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary
of the
Indonesian Consulate General in Chicago

It was a pleasure and an honor to perform at this celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Indonesian Consulate General in Chicago. Indonesia's diverse cultures were represented by music and dance from Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Aceh, Molucca Islands, and Papua. We would like to thank the Indonesian Consulate General and Consul General of Indonesia Hon. Andriana Supandy for including us in the festivities.

Friends of the Gamelan at Millennium Park
Thursday, July 11, 2013 • 8:00 p.m.

Thanks to all of the volunteers, musicians, supporters, and concertgoers who made our Millennium Park performance one of the most memorable ever! Joining us from California were our artistic director Midiyanto as well as our old friend Patrick Liddell. The evening was a study in musical contrasts, beginning with our traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan selections, and ending with the cutting-edge electronica of Dan Deacon. Special thanks to our own April Camlin for presenting us with this wonderful opportunity.

For a stroll down memory lane, check out Bob's photo album.

Suggested reading: Gamelan Meets Electronica at Millennium Park Concert.


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Spring Gamelan Concert

Saturday, May 4, 2013 • 4:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
Midiyanto, Guest Artistic Director


In a break from tradition, our annual spring concert was held on a Saturday. Our guest artistic director, Midiyanto, tailored a delightful program of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan pieces, some new to us as well as old favorites that have been in our repertoire for years. For the second year in a row, an original composition by our own Alex Yoffe made its début. Joining the ensemble were guest artists pesindhèn Heni Savitri and Patrick Liddell. Thanks to all of the musicians, volunteers, and concertgoers who helped make this one of our most memorable performances ever.

Gamelan Concert
Saturday, October 6, 2012 • 2:00 p.m.
A. F. Siebert Chapel
Carthage College
Kenosha, Wisconsin
We returned to Carthage College for an afternoon of traditional and modern Javanese gamelan music. We first played at Carthage College in May of 2011, and we greatly appreciated this opportunity to perform there once again for an enthusiastic audience in an exceptional venue.

Spring Gamelan Concert

Sunday, May 6, 2012 • 6:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church

Guest Artistic Director Joko Sutrisno once again crafted an exceptional repertoire of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan music. Tonight's program was be especially noteworthy for the interwoven male and female vocal lines which are quickly becoming a signature feature of our performances. Highlights of the program included two traditional Javanese dances as well as the premiere of Pelog Quarrel, an original composition by our own Alex Yoffe.

Gamelan Concert and Workshop



Sunday, April 22, 2012 • 1:00 p.m.
DePaul Concert Hall
800 W. Belden Avenue, Chicago

with
Joko Sutrisno, Guest Artistic Director
Performers from Friends of the Gamelan and the University of Chicago presented an hour-long concert under the direction of Joko Sutrisno, joining us all the way from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following the performance, concertgoers were invited onstage to learn the Balinese monkey chant.

An Afternoon of Javanese Gamelan Music
Sunday, February 12, 2012, 3:00 p.m.
University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois
Sexton Auditorium, Moser Performing Arts Auditorium


Thanks to everyone who joined us for this afternoon of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan music. Our varied program featured some pieces that are new to our repertoire as well as traditional favorites that we have performed for many years. Concertgoers enjoyed a hands-on introduction to the gamelan and its instruments following the performance.

Javanese Gamelan Concert
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 • 8:30 p.m.
Old Town School of Folk Music
Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall • 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.



Old Town School of Folk Music invited Friends of the Gamelan for a concert of traditional and contemporary gamelan music. We were excited to share our music with a new audience in this exciting new venue! The very next evening, our own Andrew Mall Nathaniel Braddock and presented a beginning gamelan workshop to a large and enthusiastic class.

The 13th Annual World Music Festival Chicago
presents
Friends of the Gamelan
Chicago Cultural Center • Preston Bradley Hall
Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:00 p.m.

One concertgoer commented, "It was so beautiful, repetitive, simple, elegant… It sounded like… water… and moonlight… I felt like I was at the beach, listening to the surf, meditating on the beauty of creation…"

An Evening of Javanese Gamelan Music
Saturday, September 10, 2011, 8:00 p.m.
Footlik Theater • Performing Arts Building
Oakton Community College • Des Plaines, Illinois

Indonesian Independence Day Celebration
Friday, September 9, 2011
We were guests of the Indonesian Consulate in Chicago for a belated celebration of Indonesian Independence Day at the Chicago Club. Indonesian culture celebrated through music, dance, and, of course, food. We would like to thank our friends at the Consulate for their hospitality.

Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival
Saturday, July 16, 2011
We were thrilled to perform at the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival which featured live music, dance performances, and arts & crafts from around the globe. Thanks to all of the musicians, volunteers, and loyal supporters who made this such a memorable afternoon.

American Batik Design Competition
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Preston Bradley Hall
Chicago Cultural Center

The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia invited us to play for the Chicago launch of the American Batik Design Competition. This gala affair included a fashion show featuring the finest Indonesian batiks, a batik-making presentation, and traditional Indonesian dances and music. And it wasn't just a feast for the eyes -- guests enjoyed samples of Indonesian cuisine generously offered by the Consulate.

Concert and Workshop
Saturday, May 14, 2011 2:00 p.m.
Wartburg Auditorium
David A. Straz, Jr. Center
Carthage College
Kenosha, Wisconsin
We headed north to Carthage College for an afternoon of traditional and modern Javanese gamelan music. This was our first performance at Carthage College, and we greatly appreciated their kind invitation to play for a small but enthusiastic audience in a beautiful performance venue.

An Evening of Javanese Gamelan Music
Sunday, May 1, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
A memorable evening of traditional and contemporary gamelan music presented once again under the artistic direction of master musician and educator Joko Sutrisno. Our program included traditional Javanese favorites, an American folk song and hymn arranged for gamelan, and the premiere of an original composition by our own Patrick Liddell. Performers and audience members alike love the beautiful sanctuary of Hyde Park Union Church.

Feast of Pentecost
Rockfeller Memorial Chapel
Sunday, May 23, 2010
We last performed in Rockfeller Memorial Chapel in 2005 and were thrilled to be invited back to perform for Pentecost services. Our repertoire includes traditional American hymns arranged by Joko Sutrisno for chorus and gamelan, a fitting offering for this special occasion.

An Evening of Javanese Gamelan Music and Dance
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Hyde Park Union Church
Our thanks to all of the musicians, volunteers, and concertgoers who made our annual spring concert such a wonderful experience! We were once again under the artistic direction of Joko Sutrisno, who envisioned an exciting repertoire and inspired all of us to master it through many hours of rehearsal. Terima kasih to Tri for making the evening complete with two traditional dances.

Special thanks to Rev. Susan Johnson and Anthony Harmon of Hyde Park Union Church and Robert Kendrick (Chair), Steven Rings, Kaley Mason, Kathy Holmes, and Rashida Black of the University of Chicago Department of Music.

Gamelan Concert and Workshop
Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
Oak Park, Illinois
May 15, 2009
We were joined once again by our good friend and artistic director, Joko Sutrisno, for a concert and workshop at Lincoln School in Oak Park. In four hands-on workshop sessions, legions of schoolchildren learned the fundamentals of gamelan music and played a simple piece. The performance ensemble also presented a few of the liveliest pieces in its repertoire, carefully selected by Joko to appeal to our target audience. Thanks to everyone at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School for the warm reception!


An Evening of Javanese Gamelan Music
Sunday, April 26, 2009, 6:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
Our annual spring concert once again featured guest artistic director and good friend, Joko Sutrisno. Joko selected an eclectic repertoire of traditional favorites as well as contemporary compositions. This year's concert featured slendro pieces in contrast to last year's pélog performance.

Special thanks to the Southside Arts & Humanities Network for making this evening possible.

An Afternoon of Javanese Gamelan Music
Sunday, October 12, 2008, 2:00 p.m.
University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois
Moser Performing Arts Auditorium


Thanks to everyone who joined us for this afternoon of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan music. Our varied program featured a reprise of several songs from our recent spring concert as well as traditional favorites that have been in our repertoire for years. The concert was followed by a hands-on workshop, and concertgoers were soon playing like pros!

Spring Gamelan Concert

Sunday, May 11, 2008 • 6:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
Joko Sutrisno, Guest Artistic Director
Tri Sutrisno, Guest Artist
We were pleased to present this exciting program of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan music, including the premiere performance of Purwa-Pada, an original composition by one of our own performers, Morgan Wirthlin of the University of Chicago Central Javanese Gamelan Performance Ensemble. We were once again under the artistic direction of Joko Sutrisno, joining us all the way from Minneapolis. Our program will featured two traditional dances performed by guest artist Tri Sutrisno.

Gamelan Concert and Workshop



Saturday, April 19, 2008
DePaul Concert Hall
800 W. Belden Avenue, Chicago
with
Joko Sutrisno, Guest Artistic Director
Performers from Friends of the Gamelan and the University of Chicago presented an hour-long concert under the direction of Joko Sutrisno, who joined us all the way from Minneapolis. At the workshop following the concert, several DePaul students learned to play a simple gamelan piece on our venerable and well-loved traveling iron gamelan. Finally, we all raised our voices as Joko taught us the famous Balinese "Monkey Chant." Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this a memorable afternoon for all!

Wayang Kulit
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Hyde Park Union Church

With guest artists Joko Sutrisno and Midiyanto
Wayang Kulit is an Indonesian art form in which two-dimensional painted leather puppets are made to cast shadows onto a screen lit from behind. The flat puppets of wayang kulit are beautifully gilded and painted, and in any single show there may be dozens of them representing gods, kings, warriors, hermits, ogres, and clowns. All are manipulated by one puppeteer, who sits behind the screen and supplies voices for all the different characters. Javanese wayang kulit is accompanied by gamelan, traditional Indonesian music which incorporates an ensemble of "hammered" metal percussion, drums, strings, bamboo flutes, and vocals.

On the program is the story of Bima and Dewa Ruci which comes from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Mahabharata has been adapted over centuries to the Indonesian context. While the stories are essentially old and predictable to the audience, a significant part of what the puppeteer does is to adapt them creatively to political and cultural events happening in the present day.

Sponsored by: University of Chicago Department of Music, Arts Planning Council, Friends of the Gamelan, Inc., Hyde Park Union Church, and Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Chicago.

Flag-Raising Ceremony at Daley Plaza
Friday, August 17, 2007, 12:30 p.m.

Several members of our performance ensemble participated in a flag-raising ceremony in which the Indonesian Flag, Ol' Glory, and the flag of the City of Chicago were flown side-by-side in observance of Indonesian Independence Day.

Paul Tobin Memorial
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Hyde Park Union Church

Sadly, our friend and founding member of the Friends of the Gamelan, Paul Tobin, passed away in February of 2007. His tireless dedication to the ensemble and kind spirit were remembered as we gathered to share his music and stories of his life. Soft gamelan music in the gadon tradition set the appropriate mood.

Spring Concert
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Hyde Park Union Church

With guest artistic director Joko Sutrisno and guest artist Erin Wilson.

Dedicated in loving memory to Paul Tobin.

The World's Fair
Festival Concert

Friday, February 2, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Music Institute of Chicago
Nichols Concert Hall
Evanston, Illinois
Javanese gamelan music was recreated as it was experienced at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Music by Johann Strauss, Scott Joplin, George Gershwin, and Heitor Villa-Lobos made for a diverse and thoroughly enjoyable program.

Indonesian Night
Northeastern Illinois University
University Auditorium
Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friends of the Gamelan were pleased to support Indonesian Performing Arts Chicago (iPAC) in its Indonesian Night, a cavalcade of Indonesian culture, music, and dance. The program included central Javanese gamelan directed by Joko Sutrisno and performed by The Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota and Friends of the Gamelan. The music of Bali was expertly rendered by Gamelan Mitra Kusuma, joining us all the way from Washington, D.C. Finally, the angklung bamboo orchestra of western Java was presented by a group of dedicated enthusiasts from Lomira, Wisconsin.

Chicago History Museum
Grand Reopening Weekend
Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friends of the Gamelan performed for an enthusiastic audience at the grand reopening of the Chicago History Museum alongside Native American dancers and performers representing Mexico, Ireland, and Japan.

Gamelan Workshop
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Old Town School of Folk Music



Friends of the Gamelan presented a fun and informative workshop at the Old Town School of Folk Music. About a dozen attendees enjoyed a whirlwind session presented by our own Mas Williwaw. In no time at all, these musically inclined students were playing like pros under expert tutelage. We would be thrilled to see them again at our Performance Ensemble sessions.

Wayang Kulit
at the
Chicago Cultural Center

Sunday, June 25, 2006, 3:00 p.m.

Friends of the Gamelan
welcomed celebrated dhalang
Purbo Asmoro
from Surakarta to Chicago
in a performance of brilliant
shadow-puppet theater
in the beautiful
Preston Bradley Hall


An Evening of Javanese
Music and Dance

Sunday, April 30, 2006
6:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
5600 S. Woodlawn Ave.

University of Chicago
Central Javanese Ensemble
and
Friends of the Gamelan
with guest artists
Maria Mendonça
Katharina Anggraeni
Wisnu Meier

Saturday, February 25, 2006
Asian American
Coalition of Chicago

23rd Annual Celebration:
"Unity in Diversity"
Photo Album This year's annual celebration was hosted by the Indonesian-American community and featured Indonesian food and culture, including a performance by Friends of the Gamelan.

Mid-Winter Concert
Saturday, February 11, 2006
3:00 p.m.
Hyde Park Union Church
5600 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Free admission
(Donations gladly accepted)


An informal performance and
workshop in our new venue.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

We performed outdoors at the main entrance to the Shedd Aquarium in conjunction with the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia. Perfect weather and huge crowds made for a perfect start to the Labor Day weekend.


Chicago Sun-Times

Saturday, August 27, 2005

We performed in an al fresco performance of traditional Javanese gamelan music at Millennium Park for the unveiling of "the Bean." We would like to thank the Chicago Cultural Center for inviting us to share in the fun.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

We entertained the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Shedd Aquarium. Even the fish seemed to enjoy the music. The rebab player had the best seat in the house.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

We performed for the centennial convention of Rotary International at McCormick Place. Over 36,000 registrants from 150 countries made up our largest audience ever.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

We performed for the Opening Program of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in the Pritzker Auditorium at the Harold Washington Library. We were joined by guest artist I Gusti Ngurah Kertayuda, who performed the traditional Topeng Klana dance accompanied by live gamelan music.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Gadon in a Snowstorm

A small ensemble performed a program of soft, gadon-style music at The Renaissance Society on the campus of the University of Chicago. The performance was in association with an art exhibition entitled The Here and Now. We found ourselves in a minimalist, all-white setting both indoors and outdoors, as Mother Nature had arranged for us to move the gamelan instruments through a snowstorm.


University of Chicago Magazine
Thanks to all who contributed to the success of our concert on February 20, 2005. Concertgoers donated almost $500 to the Indonesian Disaster Relief Fund.

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