There are currently five different gamelan groups active in the city. Visit the NEWS section of this website for upcoming concert details.
The NCH Gamelan Orchestra
Our flagship group, and Ireland's leading performers of classical Javanese music ("karawitan")
Rehearsals: Monday evenings
Gamelan Jam Delapan
Literally "The 8 O'Clock Gamelan", the National Concert Hall's intermediate class. Email email@example.com to get involved.
Rehearsals: Tuesday evenings
Literally "The Beginners' Gamelan", the National Concert Hall's beginners class. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Rehearsals: Tuesday evenings
The UCD Gamelan Orchestra
An orchestra of music students from University College Dublin
Rehearsals: Wednesday evenings
An ensemble of composers creating and performing their own music
Rehearsals: Thursday evenings
The story of how Dublin received a full bronze gamelan as a gift from the Sultan of Yogyakarta in Java is recounted in this article I wrote for the International Council for Traditional Music. The article also looks at the many opportunities gamelan music offers for performance, composition, academic research, teaching and health care.
In August 2018, the NCH Gamelan represented Ireland at the International Gamelan Festival in Indonesia. The week-long festival took place in venues all across the city of Surakarta in Central Java. We put together a specially-prepared programme for the festival to showcase the different gamelan styles and techniques we have developed in the five years since we began playing together. The programme included a selection of popular Javanese folk songs and original compositions, including my own work Embat, alongside several core works from the classical Javanese repertoire.
We performed before a huge audience in the festival's outdoor arena, and the whole performance was extremely well received. The event was covered by national media, including BBC Indonesia. Indonesia's national weekly magazine, Tempo, described how the group "truly captured the audience's attention", while one festival organiser cited this ensemble as a great example of how the foreign gamelan orchestras at the festival were able to "mesmerise" audiences with their "competent and holistic understanding of gamelan". But the greatest appreciation was reserved for our rendition of the popular Javanese song Prau Layar, which closed the set with the festival audience enthusiastically cheering and singing
At the festival's closing ceremony I was delighted to be presented with the surprise gift of a specially-designed lamp bearing the image of Javanese deity Wuku Sungsang, who is symbolically associated with the date of my birth.
Bonang Quartet No.1 was one of my first gamelan compositions and has perhaps become my most popular. Written in 2008, it was quickly performed across the UK, at the York Late Music Festival, the Buxton Music Festival, at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music, and for the Royal Musicological Association. The following year, it was performed in Ireland's National Concert Hall as part of the Ergodos Music Festival, alongside the premiere of my Bonang Quartet No.2. This occasion was also marked by the first of several national broadcasts for the piece.
In later years, after founding the NCH Gamelan Orchestra, I had the honour of bringing my own performers to give the Indonesian premiere of the work at the 2014 Yogyakarta International Performing Arts Festival in Java. This was followed by another performance in the NCH, when the same performers presented their Indonesian programme in Dublin. More recently, Bonang Quartet No.1 featured as the centre piece in one of the Irish Composers Collective 'In Dialogue' concerts. This involved giving talks, workshops and mentoring developing composers in how to write for gamelan. Their completed compositions were then performed alongside the quartet in a showcase concert.