Gamelan Nyai Saraswati

Gamelan Nyai Saraswati is an ensemble of the Department of Music, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Past Events

Past Events

A Concert of Indonesian Music and Dance
Celebrating 10 years of Gamelan at UNC-CH
Saturday, April 30, 2011, 7:30pm, Hill Hall Auditorium, UNC-Chapel Hill

Sunday, November 21, 2010, 2pm Ackland Museum of Art, UNC-Chapel Hill (Directions)

Concert was followed by a gamelan workshop for children (3-4pm).

Spring Concert, joint with Charanga Carolina: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 3-5PM (Kenan Music Building Lawn, UNC-Chapel Hill)

FREE and open to the public. Bring your lawn chairs! Rain location: Kenan Music Building Rehearsal Hall.

Annual Concert: An Evening of Javanese Music and Dance: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 6:00PM (Kenan Music Building - Rehearsal Hall; 145 E. Cameron Av.), with workshop following the performance, open to the public

Wayang Kali: Monday, April 6, 7:00pm, Hill Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill; with workshop following the performance, open to the public

In the collaborative Wayang Kali project the performers re-imagine Goenawan Mohamad's re-imagination of the Bharatyuda story. The project brings Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney together with composer/musicians Shahzad Ismaily, Andrew McGraw, I Kadek Suardana and Matthew Duvall, directed by the Balinese master shadow puppeteer I Madé Sidia. Mohamad's text weaves in and out of the work, projected as superscript above Sidia's shadows. Novelist Jenny Quilter's text, sung by Kenney, dialogue and cut across Mohamad's imagery.

The Wayang Kali project is ultimately structured like a traditional Balinese wayang kulit shadow play. A single puppeteer sits behind a large rectangular screen, using a fire (in this case, a projected fire) to project the outlines of flat carved leather puppets onto the screen. His dialogues and monologues determine the flow of the narrative; although here his version of the story is juxtaposed to both Mohamad's and Quilter's. They each tackle the fundamental question of Death's role in a complex, violent world, and her relationship to greater Gods, truth and human kind. Sometimes their narratives join forces, at other times they conflict.

In Wayang Kali the traditional gamelan orchestra is replaced by an eclectic ensemble of some of America's leading performers and composers of new and experimental music.

Concert: April 19, 2008, 5PM, FedEx Global Education Center.

Concert: Saturday, April 28, 2007, 6:00PM (pre-concert lecture/Q&A 5:00PM),
FedEx Global Education Center Auditorium, UNC-Chapel Hill

Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) performance: with visiting artists Midiyanto and Joko Sutrisno

Wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performance

World-renowned dhalang (puppeteer) Midiyanto, originally from Java, and currently teaching at UC Berkeley, performed a wayang kulit, or shadow puppet play. Wayang Kulit serves as a showcase for the dhalang's skill in presenting traditional stories from ancient epics, perhaps combined with comments and lessons from contemporary life. Javanese shadow puppet plays serve as a reflection of the many influences on Javanese and Indonesian culture over the centuries. Though traditional wayang last from dusk to dawn, for practical reasons this performance was an abbreviated one to accomodate a normal western concert length.

This performance was accompanied with live music by Gamelan Nyai Saraswati, the UNC Department of Music's ensemble specializing in the music of Central Javanese gamelan. The gamelan is a large orchestra of vertically- and horizontally-racked bronze gongs, bronze metallophones, drums, and other delicate elaborating instruments. The group was led from the kendhang (drum) by visiting Javanese artist Joko Sutrisno, artistic director of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.

This event was made possible through the generous support of Carolina Seminars and the UNC Diversity Incentive Fund.

Concert: Sunday, March 25, 2007, 5:00PM, Hill Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

World Music Concert: joint w/ Charanga Carolina

Concert: Sunday, November 19, 2006, 6:00PM, Hill Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Workshop: Tuesday May 2, 2006 w/ Cindy Benton-Groner

Concert: Sunday, April 2, 2006, 3:00PM, Hill Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Reinventing Black Mountain, with Richard Luby, violin & Brent Wissick, cello

At this concert, we performed Lou Harrison's Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Javanese Gamelan, with featured soloists UNC faculty members Richard Luby (violin) and Brent Wissick (cello). This was the final concert in the "Festival on the Hill: Music at Black Mountain" conference hosted at UNC Chapel Hill. (Press release)

Concert: Sunday, February 26, 2006, 7:00PM
St. Patrick Church, 2844 Village Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28304

St. Patrick Church in Fayetteville has invited Gamelan Nyai Saraswati to play a concert as part of their St. Patrick Music for Charity Series, which aims to raise money for local charities. Admission is free. At this concert, donations will be accepted to support the Mental Health Association in Cumberland County.

Concert: Sunday, November 13, 2005, 4:00PM, Person Recital Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

with guest artist Midiyanto S. Putra

Concert: Thursday, April 21, 2004, 4:00PM, Hill Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Gamelan Nyai Saraswati again teams up for a concert with the Cuban-music ensemble Charanga Carolina:

World Music Concert
UNC Department of Music presents...

Thursday, April 21, 2005, 4:00pm
Hill Hall Auditorium, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Gamelan con/dengan Charanga present
An Evening of Encounters
Where Gongs meet Congas
And Bamboo meets Brass!

Come see the premier collaboration on stage of Gamelan Nyai Saraswati with Charanga Carolina, music from the islands of Java, Cuba & Manhattan.

Concert: Sunday, November 21, 2004, 4:00PM, Hill Hall, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Gamelan Nyai Saraswati played the first half of a concert with the Cuban-music ensemble Charanga Carolina.

Concert: Sunday, April 25, 2004, 4:00PM, Talley Student Center Ballroom, NC State University, Raleigh, NC

Gamelan Nyai Saraswati offered selections from the traditional central Javanese gamelan repertoire as part of a Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra concert featuring 20th-century and contemporary music for western instruments by western "Indonesia-inspired" composers, such as Colin McPhee and Lou Harrison.

Concert: Wednesday, April 7, 2004, 8:00 PM, Person Recital Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill

This was a concert of music in which we considered the effects of the different Central Javanese scales of slendro and pelog. Called molak-malik -- going back and forth -- in Javanese, there are many pieces in the traditional repertoire that are regularly performed in several different modes and scales.

Concert: Sunday, November 23, 2003, 4:00 PM, Hill Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill

An Afternoon of New Compositions for Javanese Gamelan

In this concert we explored the idea of composing for the Javanese Gamelan. We presented pieces ranging from those created by ruling prince Mangkunegara IV in the mid-nineteenth century through Nartosabdho's samba-inspired songs from the 1950s to composer Lou Harrison's Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Javanese Gamelan. The Harrison was performed with guest artists UNC faculty members Richard Luby (violin) and Brent Wissick (cello).

The program for this concert included:

  1. Pathetan Slendro Manyura Jugag, Bawa Sekar Agung Mintajiwa, Ketawang Puspawarna, laras slendro pathet manyura, by Mangkunegara IV (mid-nineteenth century)
  2. Ladrang Tumlawung, laras pelog pathet nem, by Sudarsono Adi Negoro (1991)
  3. Macapat Mijil, Ladrang Mijil, laras slendro pathet sanga, by I.M. Harjito (2001)
  4. Lancaran Sopan Santun Lalu Lintas, laras slendro pathet sanga, by Sarwanto (1988)
  5. Dolanan Swara Suling laras pelog pathet nem, by Ki Nartosabdho (1959?)
  6. Dance, by Vi King Lim (1994)
  7. Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Javanese Gamelan, by Lou Harrison (1981)


Concert: Hill Hall Auditorium, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. March 20, 2003, 8:00 PM.

An Evening of Central Javanese Music, w/ I.M. Harjito and Sri Hadeni Harjito

For this concert, Gamelan Nyai Saraswati had the honor to host visiting artists I. M. Harjito and Sri Hadeni Harjito from Wesleyan University.


Concert: Recital Hall, Peace College, Raleigh, NC. February 19, 2003, 7:30 PM.

The Mary Howard Clark Arts & Lecture Series invited Gamelan Nyai Saraswati to perform a free all-pelog concert at Peace College.

The program for this concert included:

  1. Gendhing Bonang Tukung kethuk 4 kerep, minggah kethuk 8, pelog barang
  2. Gendhing Randhukentir kethuk 2 kerep, minggah Ladrang Ayun-Ayun, pelog nem
  3. Ladrang Sri Kuncoro, pelog nem
  4. Ladrang Wilujeng, pelog barang
  5. Gendhing Raket kethuk 2 kerep, minggah Ladrang Pamudya, pelog barang


Concert: Carrboro ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC. November 24, 2002, 3:00 PM (lecture at 2:30PM).

This all-slendro concert was part of the World Arts Festival presented by the Carrboro ArtsCenter, preceded at 2:30PM with a lecture by Prof. Tony Day, a visiting lecturer at UNC and a founding member of the ensemble, on the religious, societal, and historical position of the gamelan in Javanese culture.

Concert: Doris Duke Center, Sarah P. Duke Gardens,
Duke University, Durham, NC. September 29th, 2002, 6:00PM.

This concert was held in conjunction with the performances by the "Master Dancers of Bali".

The program for this concert included:

  1. Ladrang Wilujeng, slendro manyura
  2. Gendhing Tejasari, kethuk 2 kerep, minggah Ladrang Sembawa Bedayan, pelog lima
  3. Ketawang Subkastawa, slendro sanga
  4. Ladrang Sri Rejeki, pelog nem
  5. Gendhing Caranggantung, kethuk 2, minggah Ladrang Gonjing Miring, slendro manyura

Concert: "Gamelan Gala", Hill Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill. January 18, 2002, 8:00PM.

newman series flyer

Concert Pictures
Rehearsal Pictures, Jan 17

Concert: Chapel Hill Historical Museum. December 8, 2001, 3:00PM.

On Saturday, 8 December at 3:00pm the UNC Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble performed for family and friends at the Chapel Hill Museum.

Concert: Chapel Hill Historical Museum. June 7, 2001.

This concert was a sneak preview for the UCIS and other friends.

Director: Daniel Guberman (email:
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