Royal Conservatoire of Scotland joins forces with Gamelan Naga Mas for an evening of enchanting Indonesian music

Published: June 8, 2017


A celebration of gamelan music will enchant audiences in Glasgow next week when Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students stage a special concert with gamelan community group, Naga Mas.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Naga Mas were selected by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia as co-hosts for their 2017 artist-in-residency programme. Eminent Javanese musician and scholar Prasadiyanto has been working with Royal Conservatoire of Scotland music students and members of Naga Mas since March to develop a programme of traditional music from his home city of Solo.

Prasadiyanto’s residency culminates in a special joint concert between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Naga Mas on Wednesday, June 14 at 7.30pm in the Conservatoire’s Ledger Recital Room.

Gamelan is an orchestra of musical instruments from Indonesia and the word also refers to the music played by a gamelan. Gamelan has existed on the islands which make up the Indonesian archipelago for thousands of years, part of a complex cultural landscape of dance, performance and visual art.

“For all its long history, gamelan is also a contemporary art form, with new music being regularly written and performed,” says Dr J Simon Van der Walt, Head of the Masters of Music programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

“Gamelan has established a strong foothold outside Indonesia, with groups in many countries performing both traditional and new music.”

Glasgow is the host to a set of instruments known as ‘Spirit of Hope’, brought to the city in 1991 in the wake of the Year of Culture.

“The complete set of instruments is divided into two halves in two different tunings, known as pélog and sléndro,” said Dr Van der Walt.

“The concert at the Royal Conservatoire will bring together, for the first time in many years, both halves of Gamelan Spirit of Hope: the instruments in the seven-note pélog tuning, played by Naga Mas, and the five-note sléndro instruments currently housed at the Conservatoire.”

E.Aminudin Aziz, the Education and Culture Attaché of the Indonesian Embassy in London, added: “The arrival of gamelan teachers in the UK is an initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia as an effort to popularise Indonesian culture.”

A second gamelan concert, staged by Naga Mas, takes place in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens at 7.30pm on Sunday, June 18, part of the West End Festival. A family workshop runs from 4-5pm.

Tickets for the joint concert are available from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Box Office: rcs.ac.uk/box-office