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Sidarta, Otok Bima

Sidarta, Otok Bima

Sidarta, Otok Bima, active Indonesian composer, teacher, dancer, painter, and journalist; b. Yogyakarta, Java, May 18, 1960. He was born into an artistic family; his father, Bagong Kussudiarja, is a famous choreographer and painter, and his brother, Djaduk Ferianto, a well-known composer. Sidarta studied dance at his father’s Pusat Latinan Tari (PLT, Center for Dance Study; 1967) and at Pamulangan Beksa Nyayogyakarta (PBN, 1979), founded by the important choreographer/ dancer Romo Sasminta Mardawa; also studied music at the Yogyakarta high school cons., Sekolah Menengah Karawitan Indonesia (SMKI). From 1980 to 1984 he was active in Calif.; appeared at World Music Festivals at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts in Valencia (1981) and in San Diego (1982); also participated in the Asian Pacific Culture Festival at Loyola Marymount Univ. (1983) and in the activities of the Indonesian Cultural Center, both in Los Angeles. In 1984 he returned to Indonesia, where he founded the group Kelompok Musik Sempu (KMS), which took first place in the “best creativity” category at the Acoustic Music Competition (1984); taught dance and music in Sumatra (1985) and in Kuala Lumpur (1986), following a tour to Malaysia; also was active at his father’s Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiarja (PSBK, Residential Art Center) in Yogyakarta. In 1987 he participated in the ASEAN workshop on Liturgy and Music in Manila; also performed his own Meja, meja (Table, table) at a PSBK concert, “Experimental Arts I,” and collaborated on and performed in the collective composition Antara Tugu Ngejaman with his brother at the national Pekan Komponis (Composers Festival) in Jakarta. He also founded a group that specialized in children’s songs, Sanggar Dolanan Anak-anak Among Siswa. After touring with his father’s group in Seoul, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia (1988), he founded Pusat Latihan Karawitan Yogyakarta (PLK, Center for the Study of [Javanese] Music). In 1989 he founded and coordinated the first composition festival in Yogyakarta for new music using Javanese gamelan, “Lomba Komposisi Karawitan I,” in cooperation with PSBK and the Yogyakarta Arts Council. Sidarta’s musical innovations include the addition to the gamelan of hand-held percussion instruments (such as bells, triangles, and claves), as well as the development of new percussion techniques, including placing hanging gongs horizontally on cloth and striking them muted. He also created a personal drumming style that combines Javanese, Sundanese, and original elements. He composed for various venues; from 1984 he created pieces for dance accompaniment, alone and collectively, which included Kebangkitan Nasional, Lintasan Sejarah (ABRI) (Armed Forces) and Sendratari Kelahiran; also created works for folk theater, known as ketoprak, which were performed in art centers and on Indonesian National TV (TVRI) in Yogyakarta and Jakarta. His compositions for Javanese gamelan include Meja, meja (1987), Antara Tugu Ngejaman (with Djaduk Ferianto), and Sang Pahlawan, Lesehan, Sibab, and 511 (all 1988). Among his popular songs is Kemuning (1983). He was also active as a choreographer, numbering among his dance works Sasap (1978), GothakGathuk (1979), Kelahiran (1981), Gerka Suara Nusantara (1981), Gaung Kaputren, Santyang, and Kasonangane (all 1985), and Lima Alit (1988). From 1975 he was active as a painter; his works have been exhibited in Bali and at the Indonesian Consulate in Los Angeles.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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