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Press Release

Hudson Valley Gamelan Presents Giri Mekar and Chandra Kanchana in Concert on Friday, December 11

Eleanor Davis

Dalem Dukut, from Hudson Valley Gamelan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Hudson Valley Gamelan (HVG) will perform its annual winter concert on Friday, December 11, at Bard College. The program, featuring Balinese music and dance, begins at 8 p.m. in Olin Hall. Seating is general admission with a suggested donation of $10 (free for the Bard community), and no reservations are necessary. The concert is presented by the Music Program at Bard College.

The performance includes Balinese mask dancesTopeng Tua” and “Topeng Keras,” as well as a new musical composition by HVG artistic director Tjok Gde Arsa Artha.  Special guests include Balinese dancer Shoko Yamamura; Peter Steele, drums; Bard alumna Nicci Reisnour (’03), reyong; and Bard students Olivia Madden (’13), cello, and Keenan Houser (’13), electric guitar.

Shoko Yamamuro is one of Japan’s leading performers of Balinese dance. Shoko began her studies of Balinese dance as a child while living with her family in Jakarta, Indonesia. After graduating from the Japan Women's College of Physical Education (JWCPE) at the age of 22, she received a scholarship from the Indonesian government to enter the Institute of Indonesian Arts in Denpasar.  During this period she gained a reputation as one of the only foreign students capable of performing both male and female dance styles.  Shoko later moved back to Japan, where she built a career as one of Japan’s busiest and most respected teachers and performers. She continues to return to Bali every year and has been a fixture at the prestigious Bali Arts Festival, having performed nearly 20 times over the last eight years. 

Drummer Peter Steele is a musician, scholar, and composer working primarily on Balinese gamelan music.  He has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of British Columbia, and his M.A. thesis focused on compositional developments in contemporary Balinese music.  He is an active performer and composer and has had several of his works performed by Balinese ensembles at the annual Bali Arts Festival.
He is currently teaching a tutorial on Balinese Gamelan Angklung and is the music and education coordinator for Gamelan Dharma Swara in New York City. His research interests include transnationalism, musical identities, and the relationship between movement and music in Balinese gamelan performance.

Nicole Reisnour was raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She studied violin and piano from an early age, and first became interested in microtonality when singing improvised duets with her younger sister on car trips.  She studied tuning theory and composition with Kyle Gann at Bard College, receiving a B.A. in Music in 2003. In 2006 she received her M.A. in composition from Mills College, where she studied with Annie Gosfield, Alvin Curran, and James Tenney. Reisnour recently completed a yearlong residency in Bali, and is currently studying for a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Cornell University. Reisnour has had the pleasure of hearing her music performed by the Presidio Ensemble, the Colorado String Quartet, Quartet San Francisco, Da Capo chamber ensemble, the American Symphony Orchestra, and many other wonderful ensembles and performers. Her compositions have earned her the Clair B. Schaefer Award and the Paul Merrit Henry Prize.

Hudson Valley Gamelan is comprised of two entities in residence at Bard. The Chandra Kanchana (Golden Moon) is made up of Bard students, and Giri Mekar (Mountain Flower) consists of members of the community at large and Bard faculty members. A gamelan is often described as “one instrument played by many people.” The word gamelan can refer to an orchestra of 40 musicians or to a small ensemble of four or five, but essentially, each piece is built up by a rhythm felt in common and by the intricate musical edifice that the players carry in their heads. In Bali each gamelan is regarded as a living spirit, with its own name and home; the works played on it are felt to have lives of their own. Two basic groups of instruments are involved: those consisting of keys (either resting on a wooden base or suspended above resonators) and gongs (which either hang or rest in rows on stretched cords). The biggest gongs are struck with padded mallets; the middle range with hammers made of wood; and the smallest are hit with buffalo horn. This complex and multilayered texture has attracted Western enthusiasts, including composers Claude Debussy and Benjamin Britten. 

For more information about the concert, e-mail For information on membership in Hudson Valley Gamelan, call 845-679-8792 or 845-679-8624.

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This event was last updated on 12-07-2009