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A summer of music in Java, Indonesia

7 August 2018

Cardiff University Gamelan Ensemble at Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta
The ensemble with their instructors at Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta

Eighteen students from the School of Music recently returned from a three week trip to Java.

The students, all members of the School’s gamelan ensemble, Nogo Abang, spent their time studying and performing gamelan as well as exploring the city of Surakarta, their home for the duration of the trip.

Led by gamelan ensemble leader Jonathan Roberts, the students had lessons at Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta, as well as performing with a number of local gamelan groups at the local market and a civil service office.

During their time in Java, the group also paid visits to mountain temples, shadow puppet performances, and dance performances at Mankunegaran Palace. They also spent time discovering the city’s food, culture and markets.

A highlight of the trip for many of the students was performing for a Halal-bi-Halal event, put on by graduates of the palace language school, attended by members of the Royal family of Surakarta.

Gamelan ensemble performing in Pangudi Luhur primary school, Surakarta, Java
Performing at Pangudi Luhur primary school

To finish their trip, the students paid a visit to Pangudi Luhur primary school where they performed and rehearsed gamelan with the young students.

Student Megan Auld said of her experience “Next year I will be completing a large project on women in gamelan as part of my ethnomusicology studies. The trip to Java gave me so much knowledge and ideas for my project, as well as being an amazing way to meet people.

“The sights we saw when we were there were amazing and I had so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The staff team on the trip were absolutely brilliant; Jonathan was fantastic at organizing everything.

Hear what the students had to say about their trip.

More photos are available on the School of Music Facebook page.

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The School provides a stimulating and supportive environment for musical scholarship, composition and performance.