Sultan of Yogyakarta Gifts Gamelan to Dublin
The Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, with the assistance of the Indonesian Embassy in Dublin and the Provincial Government of Yogyakarta, Java, has chosen to gift the National Concert Hall, Dublin, with a complete set of Javanese gamelan instruments.
The Dublin-bound gamelan, a set of bronze instruments which will accommodate up to thirty people, is being purpose-built by the Sultan’s gamelan artisans and work on the instruments will be completed this summer. The gamelan will then be shipped to Dublin and permanentently housed at the NCH’s Earlsfort Terrace premises.
The NCH provides a brief introduction to gamelan music:
Gamelan is Indonesia’s ancient classical music with a history stretching back almost a thousand years. It is an orchestra made up of tuned gongs and other bronze percussion instruments, with a handful of softer instruments such as the bamboo flute (suling), the two-stringed fiddle (rebab) and drums (kendhang). Unique tunings give each gamelan its own distinct personality, and it is common practice to give a gamelan a name and even celebrate its ‘birthday’ on the date when it was first played.
It is intended that the gamelan be widely used by ‘composers, performers, and scholars’ as well as forming a large part of the NCH’s education and outreach programme. Simon Taylor, Chief Executive of the National Concert Hall, described the new gamelan as a ‘significant development in the musical life of Dublin’. ‘It will add a vibrant new element to our artistic and educational programme and introduce people to a fascinating new musical world,’ said Taylor.
Peter Moran, a composer and educator, will direct the new gamelan orchestra. Moran is currently director of the UCD Gamelan Group, which he helped establish last year, and he will travel to Java this summer to attend the instruments’ naming ceremony and formally accept the gamelan on behalf of the NCH.