Gamelan Padhang Moncar is a group of New Zealand musicians dedicated to the study and performance of Javanese music and based at the New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University campus) in Wellington. They are directed by Budi S. Putra, and managed by Megan Collins.
The group performs traditional repertoire from the courts and villages of central Java as well as contemporary works by New Zealand composers such as Jack Body and Gareth Farr. They also frequently accompany wayang kulit (traditional shadow puppetry) with Joko Susilo.
Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Core members include: Judith Exley, Marie Direen, Megan Collins, Jo Hilder, Greg Street, Mike Jones, Alisa Hogan. Other members (new, intermittent or past) include: Gabrielle Young, Hazel Barrett, Nick Hancox, Bo Yang, Harry Forte, Roanna Mowbray, Hasil Maksud, Paul Nuttall, Stephanie Cairns, Pippa Strom, Briar Prastiti, Jason Erskine, Helen O’Rourke, Carina Esguerra, Rupert Snook, Tristan Carter, Jack Hooker, Anton Killin, David Edwards, Marika Pratley, Bronwyn Poultney.
You can listen to Budi Putra, Jack Body and some of the members of the group talking about gamelan here in an interview on Radio New Zealand in 2010.
The Javanese name can be interpreted in several ways. Padhang is brightness or daylight. Moncar means growing or developing vigorously. Padhang Moncar can refer to the sunrise (the growing light), and the fact that in Aotearoa we are the first gamelan in the world to see the new day. Padhang Moncar can also be interpreted as harmony and growth and thus the name can reflect the aspirations of the group.
The gamelan is the traditional percussion orchestra of Indonesia mainly found in the islands of Java and Bali. Entirely comprised of bronze metallophones and gongs, the Javanese gamelan also often uses a vertical fiddle (rebab) and wooden xylophone (gambang) in quieter repertoire and features compelling vocals. Learn more about gamelan.
Indonesian gamelan music has been played at Victoria University since 1975, when the first gamelan set of instruments was purchased by ethnomusicologist, Allan Thomas. He managed the group for many years, followed by Jack Body, who fostered new compositions for the group. Learn more about our history.
The group has toured Indonesia four times since 1994 and has also toured New Zealand extensively, performing recently at WOMAD 2012.
Highlights of wayang at WOMAD 2012
Profile of the group and its director, Budi S. Putra (2010)
1990 Profile of Gamelan Padhang Moncar on the arts programme “10AM”.
Check out further Gamelan Padhang Moncar performance highlights.