Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
Eighth year of performances at Bard College; program features Balinese music and dance
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Hudson Valley Gamelan (HVG) will perform its annual spring concert on Saturday, May 13, at Bard College. Presented by the Music Program at Bard, the program that includes performances of traditional gong kebyar music, as well as Balinese dance, begins at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Admission is $10, free for Bard students, faculty, and staff. HVG artistic director I Nyoman Saptanyana is the cultural attaché at the New York Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia and the director of Dharma Swara, the New York–based Balinese gamelan ensemble that recently performed the epic Ramayana Ballet to sold-out houses at Manhattan’s Symphony Space. Nyoman’s wife, Ida Ayu Ari Candrawati, is the choreographer of the dances for this performance. Gamelan is the name given to the traditional orchestras and ensembles of Java and Bali, which are made up primarily of percussion instruments. Bard College’s program in Balinese music and dance was established in 1998. The HVG comprises two ensembles in residence at Bard—Chandra Kancana (Golden Moon), composed of Bard students, and Giri Mekar (Mountain Flower), consists of members of the community at large and Bard faculty members. The ensembles play a set of gamelan gong kebyar instruments crafted from jackfruit wood, bamboo, and bronze by Pande Gabeleran, a gongsmith from Blahbatuh, Gianyar, Bali. These instruments are on permanent loan to Bard College, courtesy of Woodstock Percussion owner and CEO Garry Kvistad, who is one of 18 musicians to win a Grammy award for the 1998 recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and also a member of the percussion ensemble Nexus. Kvistad’s original gamelan ensemble, Giri Mekar, was founded in 1988 and performed at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock and the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, before taking up residence at Bard. The first joint performance by Chandra Kanchana and Giri Mekar was in May of 1999. HVG ensemble coordinator William Ylitalo is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with Olatunje and God Is My Copilot, and has been heard on HBO’s Sex and the City and Hunter S. Thompson’s talking books. Walter Farrell, a teacher of the ensembles, studied gamelan in New York and California with Ketut Suryatini and Wayne Vitale. Bard alumna Lela Chapman (2005) is the first student who majored in gamelan, studying at Bard and in Bali; she currently serves as coordinator of Dharma Swara. Other area musicians in HVG include John Snyder, who has toured with jazz great Joe McPhee; Jeff Wrightson and Andrew Hillerich, from the Saugerties death-metal band Free Brain Surgery; Keith Abrams, drummer for prog-metal band Pak; and David Bodie, drummer with art-punk legend Divest and math-rock ensemble Time of Orchids. The HVG welcomes new members. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings at 9:00 p.m. in Room 305 of the F. W. Olin Humanities Building at Bard College. For information about the concert or joining the ensemble, call 845-679-8624 or e-mail or # About the Directors: Artistic director I Nyoman Saptanyana began playing gamelan at the age of 7, performing with his neighborhood ensemble in the village of Ubud. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in music from the Indonesian National Conservatory (ISI) in Denpasar, Bali, in 1989, and went on to lead the Sadha Budaya group in Ubud from 1986–2000. Saptanyana has performed throughout Asia and Europe and in 1999 led a children’s gamelan ensemble to victory in the gamelan gong kebyar competition at the island-wide Bali Arts Festival. Choreographer Ida Ayu Ari Candrawati began dancing the challenging pelegongan repertoire at age 7 under the tutelage of renowned teacher Cok Istri Agung of Singapadu village. Her professional dancing career began with the Sadha Budaya group of Ubud in 1982. In 1992, she graduated from the ISI and has performed in tours of Europe and Asia. From 1995–2000 she danced with the ensemble, Kumara Sari, and choreographed a new work that was performed at the Bali Arts Fesival. # # # (5/8/06)

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This event was last updated on 05-15-2006