American Works for Balinese Gamelan
This recording is the product of a remarkable intercultural musical experiment. It contains five strikingly varied works, each one the fruit of musical cross-pollination between America and the island of Bali. The three American composers represented here—Evan Ziporyn, Michael Tenzer and Wayne Vitale, along with their peers in the Sekar Jaya ensemble—have, since 1979, devoted an extraordinary amount of effort, intelligence, and talent to the study and performance of traditional Balinese music. Their creative endeavors elude classification in cultural pigeonholes.
Their compositions illustrate three different approaches to Balinese music. Wayne Vitale is the most immersed in Balinese tradition. Michael Tenzer uses traditional Balinese instrumental idioms, but within those parameters he tries to write music as different from Balinese music as he can. Evan Ziporyn is in some ways the most American of the three; his compositions tread a path closer to Harry Partch and Steve Reich.
Gamelan Sekar Jaya was founded in Northern California by Michael Tenzer and Rachel Cooper. They twice toured Indonesia at the invitation of the Governor of Bali, and participated each time in the Bali Arts Festival, in 1985 and in 1992. It was hailed in the Indonesian press as "clearly the finest Balinese gamelan outside of Indonesia."