Subono, Blacius popular Indonesian composer and dhalang (shadow puppet master), brother of Yohanes Subowo; b. Klaten, Central Java, Feb. 3, 1954. He was born into an artistic family, the seventh of 9 children who all became successful artists. He began his music studies at 6, often accompanying his father, the shadow puppet master Yusuf Kiyatdiharjo; at 12, began to perform alone. While at the high school cons. Konservatori Karawitan (KOKAR), he helped to create a new form of puppet theater, wayang kancil, featuring a cast of animal characters and new musical arrangements; at the college cons. Akademi Seni Karawiten Indonesia (A.S.K.I., later Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia [S.T.S.I.]) Surakarta, he was encouraged by its director, S.D. Humardani, to try his hand at musical experimentation. He composed several new works, including another wayang innovation, wayang sandosa; in 1983 he attended the national Pekan Komponis Muda (Young Composer’s Festival) in Jakarta. He received numerous commissions and invitations to perform the 9-hour wayang kulit; performed and lectured in France (1982), Singapore (1982), England and Spain (1984), and Canada and the U.S. (1986); in 1990 he lectured at Simon Fraser Univ. in Vancouver, where he composed his first work with an English text. Subono’s output includes popular songs with gamelan accompaniment as well as experimental scores, i.e., 1 for a chamber ensemble made up of only very high-pitched instruments (griting rasa), 1 for a wide range of knobbed gongs (swara pencon), and several unrealized pieces for very large chorus. His publications concerning musical accompaniment for the new, intensified style of wayang kulit called pakeliran padat include Iringan Pakeliran Dewasa Ini (1981), Kuliah Letihan Tabuh Iringan Pakeliran Padat di ASKI Surakarta (1984), and Evaluasi Garap Iringan Pakeliran Padat (1987).
(all scored for Central Javanese gamelan): EXPERIMENTAL: Swara Pencon I (1983) and II (1986); Griting Rasa (1989). DANCE: Komposisi Hitam Putih (1980); Rudrah (1981); Bisma Gugur (1982); Ronggolawe Gugur (1982); Kusumo Asih (1983); Anila Prahastho (1985); Bhagawatgita (1985); Gathut-kaca Burisrawa (1985); Jemparingan (1985); Anoman Kataksini (1986); Rahwana Gandrung (1987). SHADOW PUPPET THEATER (PAKELIRAN PADAT): Kangsa Lena (1983); Mat Buana (1984); Duryudana Gugur (1985); Gandamana Tundhung (1985). DANCE OPERA (WAYANG ORANG): Seno Kridho (1984). MODERN SHADOW PUPPET THEATER (WAYANG SANDOSA): Kama Tandhing (1982); Dewa Ruci (1983); Ciptaning (1984). SONGS: Pungjir (1974); Kidang Kencana (1980); Surakarta Lejer Budaya (1982); Solo Berseri (1985); Gotong Royong (1985); Bingung (1986); Air Minum (1987); Palinglih (1987); Sukaharja Papanku (1987); Urip Prasaja (1987); also scripts for puppet theater with animal characters only (wayang kancil) and for dance opera (wayang orang).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire