Saturday, December 24, 2011

Teeuw Prize Award Ceremony

Elsje Plantema, the Amsterdam-based gamelan teacher and performer, received the Professor Teeuw Award 2011 for her contributions to Dutch-Indonesian musical exchange. Past recipients of this award include Indonesian writer Goenawan Mohamad and F.X. Suhardi Djojoprasetyo, a gamelan performer and teacher attached for many years to the Indonesian embassy in the Hague.

The prize ceremony for Elsje Plantema took place at Amsterdam's musical conservatory on 21 December. Two of the gamelan directed by Elsje played pieces by Nartosabdho and Lou Harrison (see, Lutgard Mutsaers (author of a book on Indo-Rock, and also a forthcoming book on keroncong) delivered a laudatio, and I presented an illustrated lecture on gamelan in Europe (drawing on my book Performing Otherness, as well as a couple of other recent or forthcoming publications).

The highlight for me I think was saxophonist Yukari Uekawa and Gamelan Mugi Rahayu playing Harrison's A Cornish Lancaran)- pictured above. I spoke to Elsje after the event and she said that the soloist was a former gamelan student of hers at the Conservatorium. Much of the sax part is improvised, and Elsje attributed the success of Yukari's rendition to the player's understanding of gamelan structure (particularly the use of seleh notes).

'High tea' was served after the formal presentations were over - which meant cakes and tea.

It was very nice to meet up with gamelan folk from around the Netherlands, and the event had a very celebratory feel to it. My own talk was nicely received- good publicity for the book, and a way of giving something back to a community of interest which supported it.

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