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Aloysius Suwardi

Planet Harmonik

Photo of Al Suwardi performing

Composer, instrument-maker and gamelan expert Aloysius Suwardi presents his Planet Harmonik project for the first time outside of his native Indonesia.

Bringing together a host of self-made instruments – from giant gambang xylophones, to hydraulic bamboo flutes – Suwardi’s Planet Harmonik takes its inspiration from the Pythagorean theory of Music of the Spheres. It’s the idea that the proportional relationship between planets is equivalent to the relationship between musical notes – that the Sun, the Moon and Earth all emit their own tone. And like the planets, it’s a piece that moves with grace despite its complexity, rooted in the rich history of gamelan while also looking to the future. 

This performance is presented in association with EUROPALIA, who are leading an exploration of the contemporary cultural scene of Indonesia. Aloysius Suwardi studied gamelan music at high school conservatory (Kokar) then at the Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia (ASKI, college conservatory) in Surakarta. He completed his MA in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, USA in 1997 and performed and taught in new music festivals all over the world. 

In the first part of this evening’s concert Paul Fisher (Far Side Music / Resonance FM) will be in conversation with professor Suwardi about his life in music, Planet Hamonik and the instruments used in the  performance.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Kazum and Europalia

‘When making instruments I make them based on a mental picture of its shape, without considering the resulting sound. I then aim to give it a specific sound that is derived from a sound I imagined.‘
Aloysius Suwardi

Milton Court Concert Hall