University of Pittsburgh
March 22, 2006

Pitt's Gamelan Ensemble Concert Includes World Premiere of Indonesian Dance-Drama The Tale of Princess Gandrung Arum


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh Gamelan Ensemble spring concert will include the world premiere of an Indonesia dance-drama at 8 p.m. March 31 in Pitt's Bellefield Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. The concert also will be presented at 8 p.m. April 1.

Created specifically for the spring concert by award-winning Indonesian playwright Yoseph Iskandar, The Tale of Princess Gandrung Arum will feature seven dancers—including three visiting guest artists from Indonesia. They will tell a story through dance accompanied by musicians on the gamelan—a set of percussion instruments, including tuned gongs, metal-keyed instruments, and drums. The performance will be narrated in English by Gamelan Ensemble Director and Pitt Associate Professor of Music Andrew Weintraub.

"The story is based on actual historical events," says Weintraub. Pajajaran was a kingdom in West Java (1333-1579) that played a key role in the rise of power among the Sundanese people of Indonesia. Princess Gandrung Arum, the main protagonist in the play, is the daughter of the last king of Pajajaran.

The concerts not only demonstrate traditional forms of music, dance, and theater as they are performed in Indonesia, but also provide an opportunity for musical and theatrical collaboration and experimentation.

Dancer and artist-in-residence Ening Rumbini, who has been teaching Indonesian dance at Pitt this term, has performed extensively throughout Indonesia as well as on tours in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Dancer Ben Arcangel and master drummer Undang Sumarna are well known to gamelan audiences, having performed in Pittsburgh several times during the last eight years.

Tickets are available at the door and are $10, general admission, and $5 students and seniors. Pitt students with a valid ID are admitted free. For more information, call 412-624-4125.