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Gamelan & Community Chorale Concert

Date: 8:00pm PST November 12, 2011 Location: Evans Hall

  • poster design by Eddie Barksdale

Evans Hall

Portland World Music Ensemble and guest artists from Java perform American debut of new mass for chorus and Javanese gamelan.

Two renowned Javanese musicians, musicians from Northwest New Music, and the Lewis & Clark College Community Chorale will join Portland’s Venerable Showers of Beauty community gamelan orchestra in a concert of contemporary and traditional music for gamelan orchestra on November 12.

Master teacher and performer Midiyanto, a faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, and Peni Candra Rini, a renowned singer from Central Java, will perform traditional music of Java with members of VSB, directed by Mindy Johnston, playing the 130-year-old handmade bronze instruments of the gamelan orchestra based at Lewis & Clark. Cellist Diane Chaplin and percussionist Florian Conzetti from Northwest New Music will join University of Oregon faculty violinist Fritz Gearhart and VSB for a performance of Portland-born composer Lou Harrison’s 1982 Double Concerto for Cello, Violin and Gamelan, one of the most important works by one of the greatest American composers. Lewis and Clark’s Community Chorale, directed by Katherine FitzGibbon, will join VSB musicians for the first American performance of Missa Gongso, a mass written for gamelan and full choir by English composer Neil Sorrell.

Concert details: 8:00 p.m. November 12, 2011. Evans Auditorium, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219. Tickets:$20 , available from the music department office: 503-768-7460; free admission for L&C students and faculty.

Background information

Gamelan music: One of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated musical traditions, gamelan creates a multi-layered tapestry of beautifully interlocking melodies and rhythms. Originating in Java, gamelan music has spread all over the world, including more than 200 ensembles in the US.

The Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan: celebrated its 30th anniversary with a sold-out concert last November at Lewis & Clark College, where the community ensemble and its instruments are based. The VSB gamelan ensemble has presented hundreds of events throughout the Northwest in its three decades in Portland, many including dance or traditional Javanese puppetry (wayang kulit). Up to 30 performers play in concerts, including students and community members from the Portland area. Its repertoire includes traditional and contemporary music in a variety of styles, ranging from poetic songs to ceremonial court repertoire, from quiet, meditative pieces to stirring battle music. Musicians observe traditional playing style: seated on the floor, wearing colorful Indonesian batik costumes. The beauty of the teak and bronze instruments, hand-crafted in Java, complements their ravishing sound. Hand made by traditional craftsmen in Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia, the historic set includes about 60 instruments, most of bronze, set in colorful, ornately carved wooden cases. Some of these beautiful instruments, including the great gong, are over a century old and true Portland treasures.