University of Pittsburgh
April 4, 2005

University Gamelan Ensemble Concert to Feature the Music and Dance of Indonesia

New gamelan—set of gongs, drums, and metal-keyed instruments—is gift to Pitt from Hawaiian woodworker

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The University Gamelan Ensemble will perform the rich and

exotic musical sounds of Indonesia during its annual concerts at 8 p.m. April 15 and 16, in the Bellefield Hall Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and free to Pitt students with a valid ID. For more information, call 412-624-4125.

This year's event includes two special guest performers from Indonesia—composer Ismet Ruchimat and dancer Ati Sumiati—a husband and wife team based in Bandung, West Java, who are presently artists-in-residence at Pitt. Both teach at Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia, the music conservatory in Bandung, and have performed and taught all over the world.

The gamelan, native to 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 stage floor and strike the instruments with padded mallets, under the direction of Pitt Associate Professor of Music Andrew Weintraub, who teaches gamelan. Pitt obtained its first custom-made gamelan in 1995. Tony Lydgate, a woodworker and an aficionado of world music, has donated a second hand-crafted gamelan to the University, and both will be used at the performances. Although both primarily are made up of tuned gongs and metal-keyed instruments, gamelans differ in size, tuning, repertoire, and performance practice.

There are 12 members of the University Gamelan Ensemble, including students from Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University and members of the community. A table will be set up at both concerts to accept donations for Indonesian victims of the March 28 earthquake and last year's tsunami, which devastated the region.