Sukerta, Pande Made

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Sukerta, Pande Made

Sukerta, Pande Made, innovative Indonesian composer, writer on Balinese music, and teacher; b. Tekakula, Singaraja, Bali, 1953. He studied at the high school music cons, in Denpasar, specializing in the rebab (bowed double-stringed fiddle); in 1973 he entered the Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia (A.S.K.I.) Surakarta, where he was founding director of various Balinese gamelan groups; also was active as a performer of eksperimen karawitan barn, a style of experimental music played on traditional instruments. After graduating in 1979, he joined the faculty at A.S.K.I. (later Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia [S.T.S.I.]), where he led improvisation workshops wherein students explored the sonic potential of both gamelan and “found” instruments. He participated in Jakarta’s Young Choreographers’ Festival (1978) and at the national Pekan Komponis Muda (Young Composers’ Festival; 1979, 1981, 1984); his Asanawali for Balinese Gamelan and Chorus was heard at EXPO ’86 in Vancouver as part of the first International Gamelan Festival on a program of the Vancouver Sym. Orch., which included works by Debussy and Colin McPhee. In 1989 he was one of 7 composers commissioned to create new works for a recording project of the American Gamelan Inst. in Hanover, N.H. He toured in France, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Iran, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Suk-erta’s works are variously scored for Balinese and Javanese gamelans and “found” instruments and often include improvisatory aspects; his Mana 689 (1989) makes use of drums from Java, Sunda, and Sumatra, as well as bottles, marbles, a chanting priest, and screaming children (2 of his own 4). Other works include Malam, Demung, Gora Suara (1981), and Saik 789 (1989). He is also a prolific writer, numbering among his publications an extended essay on the process of composition, an encyclopedia of Balinese instruments, and transcriptions of melodies from the archaic Balinese ensemble Gambuh.


(all publ, in Surakarta): Gending-gending Semar Pegulingan Saih Pitu (1977); Rebaban Karawitan Bali (1979); Gending-gending Gong Gede; Gamelan Gong Gede di Desa Batur (1986; notation and drawings of instruments and cases).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire