Gamelan Sari Pandhawa

Eugene’s premiere Gamelan

Performing Indonesian music in the Pacific Northwest since 1995

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About Gamelan Sari Pandhawa

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa standing in uniform in front of the instruments

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing an educational and entertaining multi-cultural experience for the Eugene community, enriching lives through expanding cultural awareness. Since 1995, the ensemble has performed in concert and taught classes throughout the area, and seeks to increase our community’s understanding of traditional Javanese cultural arts, music, dance and shadow puppetry. We perform on bronze and wood instruments elegantly handcrafted and painted by master instrument makers in Central Java.

Our mission

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa seeks to continue its contribution to the community through teaching others to play gamelan, and to reach those who have never had the privilege of experiencing this music by adding performances in different venues throughout the area. We welcome support from community members and institutions that value the multicultural experience.

A man plays the drums with the rest of the ensemble behind him

Our history

We are a Javanese gamelan performing ensemble based in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Since our inception in 1995, we have studied with several teachers from Indonesia, including Ki Widiyanto, who has served as our primary teacher since before our gamelan was formed, Pak Joko Purwanto, and Pak Wayan Kantor from Bali.

Candid shot from behind leaves of performer playing on bonangs
Overhead shot of in-performance playing of a gender

Gamelan music

One of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated musical traditions, gamelan music creates a multilayered tapestry of interlocking melodies and rhythms. Performed on bronze gongs, xylophones, drums, stringed instruments, flutes, and voices, gamelan music has distinctive qualities that make it ideal for a community music ensemble.

Close-up of Saron Barung with hammer laying on top
An ornately-dressed dancer in green and gold pensively posing

Accessible

Gamelan’s rich textures and memorable melodies are instantly appealing and enjoyable even to those unfamiliar with the music. At performances, members often invite the audience to play the instruments, and many, including children, do so with delight.

Cooperative

By its nature, gamelan is community music - players must listen carefully and respond to each other in a generous and unselfish way in order for the music to be realized. All players are equally important to the group.

Image from above of the ensemble performing in a formation
Overhead shot of dancers in front of the sitting Gamelan performers

Multi-cultural

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa strives for a deep understanding of gamelan’s cultural and historical context. Our teacher, Lewis & Clark College music professor Widiyanto, is an 11th-generation Javanese dalang (master musician and puppet master) who transmits to Americans the ancient yet living tradition of this venerable art form. Members of the group are experienced in performing with instruments from other world music traditions (balafon, koto, marimba, kora) as well as Western music, and have used those instruments with the gamelan.

Group photo of gamelan performers and dancers all in uniform
Close-up of a flower in hair

Multi-disciplinary

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa welcomes collaborations with community artists in poetry, dance, theater, art, video, and other media. Our musicians have accompanied dance performances, shadow puppet plays (wayang kulit), art exhibitions, and theatrical works.

Collaborative

Gamelan Sari Pandhawa welcomes collaborations with other musicians. Our performances often include players from other Northwest gamelans, as well as Eugene classical musicians. The group is also dedicated to new music, and has worked with and performed music by contemporary composers who write for gamelan, including renowned American composer Lou Harrison.