Contemporary Composition in an Intercultural Context
It is no new finding that Western composers have been fascinated by Indonesian Gamelan music. However, they reacted in quite different ways. First, mainly American composers like Lou Harrison, Colin McPhee or Jody Diamond worked in that direction. In Europe, the situation was more difficult, and only in the 1960s and 1970s such “meetings” came into being, especially in rock and jazz. On the other side, Indonesian composers started intensively occupying themselves with Western traditions and developments. On both sides, the respective attempts revealed a lot of challenges but also interesting solutions. Composers like Slamet A. Sjukur, Michael Asmara, Toni Prabowo, Dody Satya EG, Madé Arnawa or Rahayu Supanggah created compositions in this “bi-cultural” realm. But it was an even younger generation, artists like Septian Dwi Cahyo, Matius Shanboone, Iwan Gunawan or Dewa Alit, who explored deeper into the topic. One main point of discussion was the compatibility of the used instruments, besides the challenge of the different musical languages of the respective music cultures. Completely new questions arose, far away from Mauricio Kagel’s “Exotica”, and they could only be solved partly with electro-acoustic media.
This lecture opens the space for intensive discussion about these challenges, and aims at proposing some solutions. The main example will be a recent and still ongoing production of a composition by Dieter Mack for Javanese pelog/slendro Gamelan (Kyai Fatahillah with Iwan Gunawan) and Solo-Percussion (Max Riefer), commissioned by the Festival Essen NOW. The new work will premiere on 1 November 2020 in Germany.