Budi Surasa Putra
Our current teacher, Budi, graduated in karawitan (performing arts) from the Performing Arts Academy (STSI) in Solo, Java in 1994. A specialist in vocals, he is featured on recordings of two of Jack Body’s compositions combining Western instruments with a Javanese vocalist: Palaran on the CD Poems of Love and War with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; and Campur Sari (with the NZ String Quartet) on the CD Pulse.
Budi has been in Wellington since 1996, directing gamelan performance at the university and at the Indonesian embassy. He is our third gamelan teacher employed by the Indonesian Embassy since 1983. Under Budi’s guidance, the group has continued to develop its performing skills and repertoire, leading the group with Jack Body on three tours to Indonesia in 2002, 2007 and 2013.
Our first teacher was Yono Sukarno, who assisted Allan Thomas in teaching the group when Allan imported the first gamelan to New Zealand in the late 1970s. In 1987, Eddy Pursurbaryanto, a dhalang, taught the group for a time while he was in New Zealand as a student. We have been fortunate to have the support of the Indonesian Embassy in providing gamelan teachers to us since about 1984.
Specialist musicians supported by the embassy have been:
Midiyanto (known to us as Widiyanto) was our first Indonesian teacher of gamelan (1983-1986). From Wonogiri, Midiyanto is skilled as both a musician and dalang. Here in the mid eighties, he has since taught and performed in the United States and Australia.
He currently teaches at UC Berkeley and performs all over the Asia-Pacific region.
Joko Sutrisno was our gamelan teacher from 1988 to 1995. During this time, the gamelan concentrated mainly on touring and festivals such as the Asia Pacific Festivals and the Sonic Circuses. There were regular tours of New Zealand which focused the group on one concert repertoire for some time before the tour.
A speciality of Joko was the creation of “Penataan”, an arrangement of traditional pieces into a continuous suite. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota and teaches for Sumunar.
Gamelan Padhang Moncar has worked with many guest dalangs, composers and musicians including:
- master puppeteer Joko Susilo
- Javanese musicians Hardjo Susilo and Rahayu Suppanggah
- Balinese musician I Wayan Sadra
- West Sumatran rabab player Rafiloza
- West Javanese drummer Agus Supriawan
- American composers Lou Harrison, Jody Diamond, Elaine Barkin and Barbara Benary
- German composer Dieter Mack