Classical Javanese Gamelan Music
Photo from Gartitude (2012)
In 2002, our group, Gamelan Asmaradana (GA), was formulated. The name, Asmaradana, was taken from a well-known classical gamelan piece, Ladrang Asmaradana, which means "to give love" or "the fire of love". Members of Gamelan Asmaradana has had the honour of studying from internationally renowned gamelan experts such as Midiyanto (UC Berkley), Supardi (STSI Surakarta), Sunardi(SMKI Yogyakarta), Dr Santosa Soewarlan (STSI Surakarta), I Nyoman Sumandhi and I Nyoman Sedana (Bali), Dr Alex Dea, Prof Michael Tenzer (University of British Columbia) and Wahyu Roche (Bandung).
In 2003, GA acquired her first set of Javanese Gamelan instruments. Since then, GA has given numerous performances in all the major arts venues in Singapore, including the Opening Festival of the Esplanade in 2002, the Arts House, the Asian Civilisations Museum, The Singapore Arts Museum, etc. In 2004, GA was incorporated as Gamelan Asmaradana Ltd with the help of founding members, Dr Gloria Poedjoesoedarmo, Ms Joyce Teo, Mr Sophian hoe Mern, Ms Serene Tan, Ms, Jacqueline Soo, Ms Emily Tan and Ms Serene Seow. The company has collaborated with other arts companies such as Act3, Theatreworks, Dramaplus, I Theatre, Arts Fission Company, SimplyWorks, Wild Rice, Theatre Ekamatra, Maya Dance and Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts.
In 2011, through new creative directions of Mr Amran Ahmad Sowyan, GA launched its first album of classical gamelan music, entitled “Asmaradana”. This marks a key milestone in Gamelan Asmaradana’s journey. In 2012, we presented “Gratitude” at the Arts House. Then, in 2015, we produced “WANDALI – Tiga Swara, Satu Irama”, a collaborative effort of Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese gamelan.
Gamelan Asmaradana is currently the ensemble-in-residence (since 2007) at the The Republic Cultural Centre (TRCC). The ensemble aims to preserve as well as to create and perform new works, using the gamelan, which are unique and progressive, giving audiences a new perspective of gamelan music in particular and Asian music in general.
“…GAMELAN ASMARADANA from Singapore who took an outstandingly talented traditional gamelan but made the exceptionally brave move of taking this music into a whole new area in collaboration with a jazz trio. The jury felt that this kind of adventurous, risk-taking art is precisely what this festival is about and celebrates and applauds this excellent group.” - Quote from the verdict of the Brave Festival Jury, chaired by David Sefton, Director of Performing Arts in UCLA, July 2006.