Friday, December 07, 2007

Gamelan Open House

As I've often complained, I only tend to find out about events on campus by lucky accident. Lucky accident has come along more than once to bring the University's Iron City Gamelan to my attention. Perhaps this is due to my long-time fondness for gamelan, which may by some mysterious synchronicity ensure that I find out about at least some of our gamelan events. Certainly, I was amazed when, some years back when I had no reason at all to imagine that University of Pittsburgh might have a gamelan, I encountered posters in the Fine Arts building announcing that my former gamelan teacher and the advisor for my undergraduate thesis would both be in town performing with the local gamelan. It was a happy reunion.
Later, Jesse and I had briefly thought we might manage to play in a Prague gamelan, but that didn't work out.
I had been meaning to join the gamelan this fall, but as I got to town just as the semester was starting, I never really got around to it. Chance favored me yet again, however, in that some intelligent person posted a notice for the gamelan's winter open house. It was on the board right near the Art History office and I caught sight of it about an hour before the open house.
The open house was quite the enjoyable event. First there were performances of traditional kinds of pieces, including a composition by my old teacher Undang Sumarna. I don't think I had heard Undang's piece before, but some of the others brought back memories. The second half of the program was rather unexpected, involving performance of contemporary hybrid types of Indonesian popular music.
I may get my act together and sign up for gamelan in the spring. After all, by January I should have sent off every last postdoc and job application and have absolutely nothing to do except finish my dissertation. There must be time for a little gamelan rehearsal in there.

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