Suratno, Nano

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Suratno, Nano

Suratno, Nano prolific Indonesian composer, known as Nano S.; b. Pasar Kemis Tarogong, West Java, April 4, 1944. He earned degrees from the Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia (A.S.T.I.) Bandung (1978) and Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia (S.T.S.I.) Surakarta (1989); also studied with Daeng Sutikna (music), Syafei (literature), Tjetje Somantri (choreography and dance), and, especially, Mang Koko (music). He formed his own dance company and then performed with Koko’s group, Ganda Mekar. He began composing experimental works for degung, a traditional Sundanese chamber ensemble of tuned gongs, drums, and bamboo flute; in 1979 his Sangkuriang was performed at the important national festival Pekan Komponis Muda (Young Composers’ Festival); he also began composing highly expressive instrumental music (“karawitan total”), and in 1985 mounted Umbul-umbul, involving 75 players in a mixture of over 15 Sundanese styles, on Indonesian TV. Nano S. sees many of his songs as a means of making traditional music more accessible to Sundanese youths; he often recasts classical melodies in forms that conform to popular music styles of the West. Even in his more experimental instrumental works, which he calls “musik total” or “musik murni” (i.e., ’’absolute” music), he neither borrows from foreign sources nor uses diatonic tuning; while such works have not yet found a place in the standard repertoire of Sunda, audiences abroad have been receptive; in 1989, on a commission from the American Gamelan Inst. in Hanover, N.H., he composed and recorded Jemplang Polansky, inspired by his confusion upon listening to the computer music of Larry Polansky, and Galura (Emotion; 1988), an instrumental solo piece for kecapi (plucked zither). In 1986 he toured in Canada and the U.S.; after appearing in Japan (1988), he became a guest lecturer and composer at the Univ. of Calif, at Santa Cruz (1989). In 1990 he directed the touring program “Sunda: From Village to City,” presented in the U.S. at its Festival of Indonesia. Nano S. is best known in Indonesia as a song composer; his texts are often about young love, cast in the regional language of Sundanese, modern Indonesian, or English. More than 200 audiotapes of his works have been released, several of them distributed by the American Gamelan Inst. Among his publications are a book of songs, Haleuang Tondang (Bandung, 1975), and Mengolah Seni Pertunjukan Sebagai Media Penergangan (Development of the Performing Arts as an Information Medium; 1989); also some 15 operetta librettos. In 1978 he married the Indonesian singer Dheniarsah; their home in Bandung is a fertile international meeting ground for artists of all disciplines.


Ki Lagoni, operetta (1967); Raja Kecit, operetta (1974); Bubat for Degung (1978); Sangkuriang for Gamelan (1979); Sekar Manis for 4 Kecapi (1980); Anjeun for Degung (1986); Kalangkang for Degung (1986); Kangen for Degung (1987); Kalangkang for Jaipongan (1987; also for Western Band [1987] and Kliningan Wanda Anyar [1988]); Tibelat for Pop Sunda (1988); Cinta for Pop Degung (1988); Galura for Kecapi (1988); Jemplang Polansky for Mixed Ensemble (1989); Love Smir/Parkir for Gamelan (1990); Warna for Gamelan (1990); Karesman for Gamelan (1990); many songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire