[Video above: Gamelan Pacifica performing "Manik Jejantung," music by Peni Chandra Rini; Peni Chandra Rini and Stephen Fandrich, vocals; Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, 2011; with Jesse Snyder, Christina Sunardi, Jarrad Powell, Richard Robinson.]
Thanks for your support of the production Gamelan Pacifica's newest recording!
In April 2019, Gamelan Pacifica will collaborate with Del Sol String Quartet on Iron Tears, an exciting new composition for Javanese gamelan and string quartet by Seattle composer Stephen Fandrich. The piece will appear on Gamelan Pacifica’s next album, to be released in the spring of 2020.
Gamelan Pacifica has a long-time commitment to the creation of new music for gamelan. Through our concerts and recordings, we give special attention to presenting contemporary works and recording new works so that they might have a wider audience and to ensure a valuable historical record of the music.
For this special project, Gamelan Pacifica cannot do it by itself. We need a string quartet! And what better quartet to choose than the illustrious Del Sol String Quartet. Del Sol has an impressive record of adventurous programming and recording, as well as working with alternative tuning systems (such as their work on the string quartets of composer Ben Johnston), a necessity for performing with the gamelan. For this first-ever collaboration, Del Sol is traveling from San Francisco to Seattle to perform with Fandrich and Gamelan Pacifica on April 20, 2019, as part of the esteemed Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space. Gamelan Pacifica will use this opportunity to rehearse and record the new work, with the composer overseeing the process—a valuable opportunity for both groups to collaborate and explore new musical territory.
Iron Tears draws its inspiration from the myth of Orpheus. What note did Orpheus sing, what melody was it that, as author Edith Hamilton wrote, “…drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek and made Hell grant what love doth seek?” Does such a note, such a melody exists? But where? Composer Fandrich searches for this note among the unusual tones and tuning of the Javanese gamelan. He believes that in the tones of the gamelan, as sung by the voice, or played by the suling or rebab, such a tone lives. Many compositions which he has created over the years describe a scene in the myth of Orpheus. Inspiration for this new string quartet is found in the moment where Orpheus meets Pluto to make that most unusual plea, that "Hell grant what love doth seek!"
The total cost of recording and producing this new album will be approximately $8,000. Your donations will go towards artists' fees and production costs for the April 2019 recording of Iron Tears with Gamelan Pacifica and Del Sol String Quartet.
About Gamelan Pacifica, the Del Sol String Quartet, and Stephen Fandrich
“With an air of timelessness, Gamelan Pacifica has done an unparalleled job of taking gamelan music to new heights, while remaining respectful to the roots and cultural significance of its instruments.” SOMA Magazine
Gamelan Pacifica specializes in the intersection of Javanese tradition and contemporary composition. Formed in 1980, it has performed extensively in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Canada and throughout the U.S. Gamelan Pacifica is an active and adventurous ensemble, with a reputation for creating diverse productions merging traditional and contemporary musical forms with dance, theater, puppetry, and visual media. They have been guest performers at The Smithsonian Institute's Festival of Indonesia, New Music Across America Festival, Vancouver New Music Society, On the Boards, Walker Art Center, Performing Arts Chicago, and many others. In the Northwest they perform regularly and have appeared at the University of Washington, Seattle University, Town Hall, Cornish College of the Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, Evergreen State College, Centrum, Bumbershoot Festival, Arts in Nature Festival, University of Oregon, Whidbey Institute, CenterStage, and others. Visiting artists have included some of the most notable artists of Indonesia, including Rahayu Supanggah, Al Suwardi, Midiyanto, Heni Savitri, Peni Chandra Rini, Heri Purwanto, Sutrisno Hartana, Wayan Sinti, Didik Nini Thowok, Sri Djoko Rahardja, I Made Sidia, Endo Suanda, Dedek Wahyudi, Ki Purbo Asmoro, Goenawan Mohamad, and Tony Prabowo. Gamelan Pacifica's recordings, Trance Gong, Scenes from Cavafy, and Nourishment, have received international acclaim. Gamelan Pacifica is a professional ensemble-in-residence at Cornish College of the Arts.
Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time top winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, San Francisco’s Del Sol String Quartet is a leading force in 21st century chamber music. Del Sol has commissioned and premiered over 100 works by a diverse range of composers, including Terry Riley, Mason Bates, Frederic Rzewski, Ben Johnston, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chinary Ung, Ken Ueno, Mohammed Fairouz, Tania León, Peter Sculthorpe, Reza Vali, and Per Nørgård. The Quartet has performed on prominent concert series nationwide, including the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, Symphony Space, Miller Theatre, Cabrillo Festival, Other Minds Festival, and Santa Fe Opera; and internationally in Switzerland, France, China, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico. Members: Benjamin Kreith, violin; Samuel Weiser, violin; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello.
Stephen Fandrich is a 20-year veteran as instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, and instrument curator with Gamelan Pacifica, composing for them what director Jarrad Powell called the world’s first piece combining harmonic singing and gamelan. Fandrich also founded the Seattle Harmonic Voices. Currently, he can be found performing, producing, and creating behind the scenes at the weekly house concert series known throughout Seattle as Spite House, composing and improvising at his piano in various forms of just intonation (the harmony of harmonic ratios), and performing music influenced by the ancient tonal colorizing form of raga in the piano/saxophone duet Outlaw Space with saxophonist William Monteleone.
Risks and challenges
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