University of Pittsburgh
March 25, 2008

University Gamelan Ensemble Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Concerts April 11 and 12, Dance Classes, and School Visits

Concerts to be taped by Voice of America for broadcast on Indonesian television

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The University Gamelan Ensemble-whose members perform the rich and exotic traditional music of Indonesia with gongs, chimes, drums, and metal-keyed instruments-is marking its 10th anniversary at the University of Pittsburgh.

To commemorate the milestone, ensemble director and Pitt professor of music Andrew Weintraub has planned a series of events, from Indonesian dance classes to a performance in Washington, D.C.

The gamelan, which originated on the island of Java in Indonesia, is a collection of large and small gongs, chimes, xylophone-like keyed instruments, and drums. Members of the ensemble sit cross-legged on the floor and strike the instruments with padded mallets.

The University received its first gamelan in 1995, and was one of only a handful of U.S. universities at that time to own one. A second hand-carved set was donated to Pitt last year. Weintraub established the University Gamelan Ensemble in 1998 and holds an annual concert for the public, frequently featuring traditional Javanese dancers in native clothing.

"The rich aural and visual feast that audience members will experience at our concerts is unparalleled," says Weintraub, adding that students who study gamelan at Pitt experience "a different world."

The following events are planned:

March 28 through April 13

A group of visiting instructors/performers-West Java dancer Ening Rumbini, pop music composer Nano S., and vocalist Rita Tila-will conduct classes at Pitt and several other American universities. Pitt students who want to learn native dances of Java are welcome to contact Weintraub at 412-624-4184 or

April 5, 7-9:30 p.m.

The University Gamelan Ensemble will perform at the residence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States, 2700 Tilden St., NW, Washington, D.C. The concert kicks off an international relief fund to benefit the Indonesian disaster victims.

March 26 through April 15

Dancer Ening Rumbini will teach traditional dance movements from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays to students at the Falk Laboratory School, 4060 Allequippa St., Oakland.

April 11, 11 a.m.-noon

The University Gamelan Ensemble and guests will perform for Falk School students and will be joined by students demonstrating what they have learned. This matinee performance will take place in Bellefield Hall, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland.

April 11 and April 12, 8 p.m.

The University Gamelan Ensemble and guests will perform at Bellefield Auditorium in Bellefield Hall, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. The concerts, to be taped by Voice of America for broadcast on Indonesian television, will include traditional gamelan, dance, pop Sunda (Sundanese pop music), and dangdut, a form of popular music in Indonesia. Tickets are $10, $5 for all students or senior citizens, and free for all Pitt students with a valid ID.