March 23, 2000

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

ROCHESTER, NY – The intriguing music of an ancient Balinese gamelan will be performed in this season’s final concert of the Eastman School of Music’s World Music Series. The concert, featuring Eastman’s own gamelan ensemble "Lila Muni" ("Beautiful Sound"), will be at 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). It is free and open to the public.

In addition to several traditional and contemporary selections for the gamelan – a set of instuments such as hanging gongs, pot gongs, and xylophone-like objects – the ensemble will perform premieres of two new works written by ensemble members: Ulungan Don di Rochester (Falling Leaves in Rochester) by instructor I Nyoman Suadin, and Musim Semi (Spring) by teaching assistant Clay Greenberg.

Derived from a Javanese term for the act of striking a percussion instrument, the word "gamelan" refers both to the set of musical instruments and to the ensemble that plays them. Like traditional Balinese gamelan ensembles, Eastman’s ensemble, founded in 1993, is a community endeavor, comprised of Eastman students, faculty, staff, and friends from the Rochester community. As in Indonesia, the musicians play by ear, without notation. There are no soloists; each person plays a small but significant role in the instrument’s sound.

The ensemble recently performed in concert with Bobby McFerrin during a benefit performance at Eastman Theatre for the Health Association in February. After hearing the gamelan performed for the first time by Eastman’s ensemble, McFerrin had one word to say: "Cool."