Holy Cross Balinese Gamelan Gita Sari Orchestra to Present Popular Concert

Students directed by world-renowned gamelan dancer and musician I Nyoman Catra
December 8th, 2016 by 


World-renowned gamelan dancer and musician I Nyoman Catra. Photo by: John Buckingham

The Holy Cross departments of music and theatre will present the famed Balinese gamelan orchestra, Gamelan Gita Sari, on Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. in Brooks Concert Hall. This semi-annual concert will feature student performers and guest artists and is free and open to the public.

The performance is directed by I Nyoman Catra, visiting professor of Balinese performing arts and current artist-in-residence, who was with the College when the Balinese performing arts program was started 20 years ago. One of Bali’s master artists of traditional dance and theater, Catra specializes in the Kechak monkey dance and masked temple performances known as Topeng, whose clown characters bear a strong resemblance to commedia dell’arte. He is internationally renowned and has taught at the Institut Seni Indonesia (The National Institute of the Arts is Denpasar).Introducing students to Balinese music and dance has been a highlight of the arts at Holy Cross since 1999, when Fulbright scholar-in-residence I Nyoman Cerita brought gamelan music to the campus with a borrowed orchestra. The College’s Gong Kebyar gamelan was built in Indonesia by master Balinese craftsman Pande Made Sukerta in 1998 and named Gamelan Gita Sari at a blessing ceremony on campus in July 1999. “Gita Sari” means “the essence of song” in Bahasa Indonesian, the native language of the country.

Holy Cross is one of a handful of colleges in the country that has a Balinese gamelan orchestra. Some of the world’s foremost Balinese musicians and dancers have also taught and performed at the College; through courses in gamelan and dance, students experience the rich traditions of Balinese culture.

“The College has remained committed to the Balinese Gamelan music and dance program, and we are now in our 18th year of classes and bi-annual concerts under the leadership of some of Bali’s finest artists,” said Lynn Kremer, professor of theatre, Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., Chair in the Humanities and director of Arts Transcending Borders. “We are the envy of other institutions who have gamelans, but no full-time Balinese artist-in-residence. Our program is also unique in that our visiting artists can place Balinese music and dance in historical, cultural and religious contexts. Many students have traveled to Bali after their rich experience at Holy Cross to deepen their learning and exposure to this wonderfully rich culture.”

For more information about the concert and Gamelan Gita Sari, contact Joan Townsend at 508-793-3490.

For additional information, please contact Jessica Kennedy at 508-793-2419.

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