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Michael Asmara

Michael Asmara, born in Jakarta on the 17 June 1956 who is  now resident in both Indonesia and Japan, is a composer of stage, orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, piano, and multimedia works that have been performed in Asia and elsewhere.

Mr. Asmara studied composition at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta from 1980–83.

His honors include First Prize in the competition of the Humorous Dance Festival in Jakarta (1986, for Clapping Dance). His music has been performed in Germany, Indonesia, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam, including twice at the Asian Music Festival (2003, Tokyo; 2005, Thailand). He has received commissions from Ensemble Omega in Germany, Izumi Hall in Osaka, Shin Nakagawa/Gamelan Marga Sari in Osaka, double-bassist Allan Von Schenkel, and pianist Kees Wieringa, among other ensembles, organizations and soloists.

Mr. Asmara is also active in other positions. He founded the Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival in 2003 and has served as its director since 2003.

He guest-lectured at the University of Osaka and at a workshop for composers in New Zealand in 2003.


STAGE: Floods (text by Gentong Haryo Seno Ali, choreography by Synthia M.T. Sumukti), theatre cast (+ kentongan [bamboo alarm drums]), dance troupe (+ kentongan, lesung [rice mortars]), performance art (by Bambang Prashidi, Achmad Sururi), mixed chorus (+ angklung [Indonesian bamboo rattles]), flute, oboe, bassoon, guitar, string orchestra, 1984; Clapping Dance, human body, 1986; Love (text by Khalil Gibran [Bahasa translation], choreography by Synthia M.T. Sumukti), 2 male speakers, dance troupe, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, piano, 1987; Piece for playing (Gending Dolanan) (choreography by the composer), dancer, piano, any number of gamelan instruments in mixed tunings, audience, 1994; Interaction, motorcycle, audience volunteer (+ any number of gamelan instruments in mixed tunings), any number of gamelan instruments in mixed tunings, participating audience, 1999; Niji – Rainbow (text by Shin Nakagawa [also translated by the composer]; all players also dance), pesindhen (female voice), gamelan orchestra in mixed tunings (+ any number of small bells), 2003; Cooking Music (11 pieces involving the preparation of food; player also speaks about food), player (with kitchen utensils, foods, water, tea, metronome, handbell), lit candle, participating audience, 2004

ORCHESTRAL: Symphony No. 1, bonang in mixed tunings (rack of small tuned gongs), slentem in mixed tunings (Indonesian metallophone), saron penerus in mixed tunings (Indonesian metallophone), large orchestra (87 players), 1992

CHAMBER MUSIC: String Quartet No. 7, 1996; String Quartet No. 2, Op. 24, 1998; Fantasia, string quartet, 1999; Night Music for Marzenka (Trio for Gender), 3 gender (Indonesian metallophones), 2002; A Piece for 15 Rebab (2-string Indonesian instruments), 2002; Music for String Quartet, Rebab and Wind Trio, flute, clarinet, French horn, rebab, string quartet, 2002; For an Orphan in the Battle No. 2, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, string quartet, piano, 2004; The Evening Sleeps So Peacefully, trombone, stones (4 players), participating audience, 2004; Solo III, cello, 2005; A piece for Bonang, 2006; A Short Piece for Bass, double bass, 2006; Duo, violin, piano, 2006; Three pieces for solo violin, 2008

CHORAL: Illusion No. 2 (text by Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Mangkunegara IV), mixed chorus, guitar, violin, organ, Op. 1, 1983; Mantra for the Opening (text from an anonymous Javanese source), mixed chorus, gender in mixed tunings, demung in mixed tunings (Indonesian metallophone), 3 vibraphones, 3 xylophones, 2 marimbas, 1990; Asobu – Playing (vocalise), children's chorus, gamelan orchestra in mixed tunings, 2003

VOCAL: Thinking of You (texts from the Ilir-ilir [Javanese song by Sunan Kalijaga], the Asmaradana [Javanese sung poetry] [translated by the composer]), pesindhen (+ gender in mixed tunings, crotales, gong ageng [gong with freely-vibrating sounds]), boy soprano, 13 children's voices, flute (+ suling in mixed tunings [bamboo flute], crotales, gong ageng), youth piano (+ crotales, gong ageng, pelog-tuned gender) (any player + ketuk [Indonesian gong]), 1996; Homecoming (text by Wislawa Szymborska [English translation]; all players also speak), any 13 instruments with different pitches, 1997; Statue (text by Gerrit Achterberg [English translation]), mezzo-soprano, flute, harp, viola, 2004; When the Clouds Move to Cover the Stars (text from an anonymous Javanese source), pesindhen, 2 bonang in mixed tunings, 2 saron peking in mixed tunings (Indonesian metallophones), 2 saron barung in mixed tunings (Indonesian metallophones), 2 demung in mixed tunings, 2 slentem in mixed tunings, gong ageng (with 2 candles), participating audience, 2004

PIANO: The Drunken Waltzer, 1984; For an Orphan in the Battle, 1986; The River, 1986; Moving, 1996; After the Dreams, 1997; Lamentation for Maya Devi, 1997; A Little Piece for Pianoforte, 2000; A Little Piece for Pianoforte No. 2, 2001; A Piece for Piano No. X, 2003; Two short pieces for pianoforte No. V, 2005

MULTIMEDIA/PERFORMANCE: The Resistance of Substance (text by Asmara Hadi), pesindhen, tenor, 2–5 actresses/actors, crying-singing noises (2–3 children), crying noises (3–4 children), fighting noises (6 women, 6 men), gender, 3 kentongan, motorcycle (4–7 riders), radio (3 operators), siren (2 operators), signal light, 1988; Quintet (text by Raden Ngabei Yosodipuro I), pesindhen, wiraswara (male voice), piano, any unpitched instrument, any number of gamelan instruments in mixed tunings, participating audience, 1989; Prelude (texts from the Dhandanggula turulare [Javanese sung poetry]), wiraswara, piano, xylophone, marimba, tubular bells, any number of gamelan instruments in mixed tunings, 1991


Niji. Shin Nakagawa/Gamelan Marga Sari (Gamelan Marga Sari, 2003)

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