Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble Ngudi Raras performs at conference

Wed, 03/28/2018

Professional Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble Ngudi Raras to perform in conjunction with Indonesian music conference and annual Indonesian culture night

On Thursday, March 29 at 7:00pm, visitors to the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room will be transported from Ithaca to Indonesia when the Department of Music presents professional gamelan ensemble Ngudi Raras.

Ngudi Raras consists of six master musicians from Central Java who are faculty of Indonesia’s leading traditional performing arts school, ISI Surakarta. However, rather than learning their own skills at academic institutions, they are alami, or “natural,” musicians who honed their craft through apprenticeship with family and community members. They perpetuate musical traditions on a deep level, earning esteem for their expertise.

As part of a larger conference event, Sounding Out the State of Indonesian Music, the performance will demonstrate a klenèngan. Instead of a formal concert presentation, klenèngan performances are more relaxed and expansive. Senior lecturer of music and Cornell Gamelan Ensemble director Christopher J. Miller says the pieces on the program are spontaneously selected and last as long as the performers choose, listening for subtle musical changes as the piece unfolds. Describing the event, Miller notes “the relaxed atmosphere frees audience members from the expectation of rapt attention from start to finish; one is free to come and go, eat, chat quietly with a friend, or listen intently, as one pleases. The music doesn't grab so much as envelop.” Miller has prepared the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble to join Ngudi Raras for portions of the program.

Adding to the atmosphere of the performance, the Cornell Indonesian Association’s annual Indo Night will showcase other elements of Indonesian culture, with food, games, and crafts for sale. Rebecca Lim, the CIA’s Public Outreach Coordinator says “this collaboration will truly allow us to introduce Indonesian culture and music to Cornell and the greater Ithaca community.” The event is also in collaboration with the Southeast Asia Program.

Doors open at 6:45pm, and the admission is free and open to all. Food tickets are available for advance purchase online by visiting

Gamelan ensemble Ngudi Raras