jueves, 9 de agosto de 2018

My Article about Duo 590 published at The Jakarta Post, 10 August

An Intent of "Violation" to Jakarta Music Lovers, by Ananda Sukarlan, composer & pianist (this title is changed in the printed version into : Duo 590 Dazzles Jakarta Music Lovers) .......................................................................................................................................... The viola might not be a popular instrument in Indonesia, but a preview in an online newspaper might be the booster for the public's enthusiasm for violist Adam Cordle's recent concerts in Jakarta. The article was cleverly titled "The handsome American violist will perform in Jakarta", and most probably it was the mixture of the word "handsome" and the mystery of the viola that attracted the audience. And they were not disappointed at all, not only by his physical appearance, but even more by his high musicianship and virtuosity. The viola is slightly larger than a violin and has a lower sound. It serves as a "bridge" between the violin and the cello in chamber music, and for centuries it was considered as such, merely a filling instrument. It wasn't until the 20th century that it earned the stature it deserves, as an instrument with a poignant, warm and mellow sound. Thanks to composers such as Paul Hindemith, William Walton, Toru Takemitsu and Alfred Schnittke it became popular through their works for solo viola and orchestra. .......................................................................................................................................... This young violist who has performed throughout North America and Europe with different partners, chamber groups and orchestras is at the moment in Jakarta and has performed with his duo partner who equally impressed the audience, Indonesian pianist Edith Widayani, as Duo 590. They performed 2 concerts last week in Jakarta and will perform again this weekend. On August 2nd they performed at the Institut Francais d'Indonesie (IFI), with a program of exclusively French Women Composers of the early 20th century: Nadia Boulanger, Fernande Decruck and Marcelle Soulage. The next day they did a "lighter" program, for an afternoon of High Tea at the Writers Bar, Raffles Hotel. .......................................................................................................................................... But first the "590" needs an explanation. 590 is the code for the courses that Eastman School of Music doctoral students take as part of their curriculum. Adam and Edith met in one of these courses in their first semester of graduate study. Also, one of the main interstates in Rochester—where Eastman is located—is also named 590. So, Duo 590 references both how and where they were founded. This year, both musicians have earned their Doctorate degrees on Music from that prestigious institution. .......................................................................................................................................... From the French women's program at IFI, Nadia Boulanger was the only name that is known by most of the Jakarta audience. Her work played was the "Three Pieces for Cello & Piano" and it was Cordle's initiative to play it on an instrument one octave higher -- and it worked so well. But it was Marcelle Soulage's Sonata in A minor, op. 25 that convinced the audience as a forgotten (or ignored?) great work. Soulage (1894-1970) composed prolifically, sometimes writing under the pseudonym Marc Sauval but then was almost totally forgotten after her death. Many of her works remained unrecorded, and in fact a YouTube post of this mentioned Sonata is only available by Duo 590. Listening to this 4-movement work really aroused the audience's curiosity to discover more works by this fabulous composer, and this dazzling Duo 590 should definitely make a CD recording of this forgotten musical gem. .......................................................................................................................................... The concert at Raffles Hotel hit a lighter note. The audience was more relaxed in a much more intimate setting at the Writers Bar, and they even conversed with the musicians. This time "590" performed shorter and "easier listening" works by a.o. Gabriel Faure, Franz Liszt, two movements of the Soulage Sonata (on the request of the audience who grew to love the piece the day before) and the writer's Someone's Stolen Her Heart (and I found it) written during my early conservatory days and --as the title implies-- evoking a not-meant-to-be teenage crush. .......................................................................................................................................... Adam Cordle will perform again, this time as a soloist with a chamber orchestra, on Sunday, August 12th in Soehanna Hall (The Energy Building, SCBD) at 3 p.m, giving the World Premiere of the writer's new work, "Sebuah Simfoni Tentang Perempuan" (A Symphony on Women). This 20-minute (Chamber-) Symphony is commissioned by the former RI President, B.J. Habibie (through the Habibie-Ainun Foundation) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Reformation in Indonesia, focusing the merits and contribution of women on this aspect. The work is written for solo viola, narrator and 8 instruments. The narration is written by prominent writer Putu Fajar Arcana and will be read by actress Maryam Supraba. Before the new work is performed, Adam will show his prowess by performing my virtuosic works for viola and piano, again with Edith Widayani.

jueves, 26 de abril de 2018

My article for the Autistic Spectrum Digest apps, Sept. 2014

Opening the AS Digest apps on my smartphone, am surprised that my article from 4 years ago was still there. It used to achieve the "article of the month" in September 2014. Anyway, I submitted this article to them. If you wanna download their apps, just go to Apps Store and search "Autistic Spectrum Digest". .......................................................................................................................................... Last year I was taping an interview for one of the most popular talkshows on Indonesian TV, "Tea Time with Desi Anwar". Desi is one of the top reporters in this country, and meeting her in that session convinced me that she deserves her reputation. During the breaks I quickly decided that I will talk about a subject which I never talked publicly before (although everyone who looks at me knows that I suffer from it) which is the Tourette Syndrome (TS), and how I suffered from it. In all the hundreds of interviews with reporters I've done throughout my life, I haven't opened up this matter to any one of them, and they were all nice enough not to touch this matter. At Desi's program, it was me who decided to talk, not her. And then I posted about Hans Asperger a few months ago in my facebook, at the International Asperger's Day on Feb. 18th that coincided with Asperger's birthday in 1906, in which I confirmed and admitted that indeed I am convinced that besides Tourette's Syndrome, I also am an "Aspie" -- the popular term for us who have Asperger's Syndrome. (please read my blog http://andystarblogger.blogspot.com.es/2013_05_01_archive.html for my entry about Tourette Syndrome). It is quite common for a person to have both Tourette AND Asperger, since they both fall under the same autistic spectrum. .......................................................................................................................................... My name is Ananda Sukarlan, and I am a composer and pianist. With this profession, it is not easy to have both Tourette and Asperger's Syndrome. It all began when I was diagnosed in 1996 with a clear Tourette Syndrome and a "high probability" of Asperger's Syndrome. I even don't understand why they put Asperger with an apostrophe "s", which they don't put with Tourette! Oh well, psychologists, they are all full of mysteries. From now on, I'll refer to them with AS and TS only. .......................................................................................................................................... AS remains a controversial diagnosis due to its unclear relationship to the autism spectrum since Mr. Asperger's paper published in 1944. Only in the 1980s that people took interest in it. I have indeed given a clue of my AS in an interview at the Jakarta Post with writer Bruce Emond, back in 2008 during the celebration of my 40th birthday : http://andystarblogger.blogspot.com.es/2010/09/horribly-lonely-in-jakarta-post.html . I quote myself answering Mr. Emond's question: What would people be surprised to know about you?. I answered: I have this strange hormone in me which provokes the feeling of extreme loneliness (even if I am in a crowd). It’s been working inside me since I was a teenager. And that loneliness cannot be cured by just being with someone. When it happens, it usually indicates that I should write music. My best music is written when I am feeling horribly lonely. .......................................................................................................................................... Being lonely, or alone, is a common trait for Aspies. AS, as with the other syndromes in the autistic spectrum, has more to do with social and psychological aspects than a physical one. I won't try to explain everything about AS, since I am not an expert in that, and also since AS is still a mysterious syndrome. The problem is that there are so many speculations about people in the past who allegedly suffered from AS which I find rather disconcerting, such as Steve Jobs, Sir Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. Even Mozart! With Mozart, his Tourette Syndrome was pretty convincing, but how would one know that he had AS too? Anyway, there are similar traits of people with TS or AS. What I would like to say is just that we, people with AS and TS could, and even should, behave and socialize quite "normally". I certainly --and am sure I represent other people with AS and TS-- do not want to be treated differently. Yeah, during the Nazi era, people like us were put into concentration camps, but that was the case of everyone "different", such as homosexuals etc. In fact, it is proven that people with AS usually excel in one or even several fields, since a particular part of our brain is highly activated. Therefore, we get people with AS like Bill Gates, Lionel Messi or the founder & designer of Pokemon game, Satoshi Tajiri. .......................................................................................................................................... Another thing I would like to rectify is the common belief that people with AS can't be "empathic". That's very wrong. In fact, after talking with fellow Aspies, I can tell you that we are just the opposite: we are hypersensitive people. We just don't know, most of the times, how to express it physically. And I think this is where my music comes from : it can express things which I am unable to express through gestures, words or actions. So, that convinced me again of what I always said about music : We write, perform and play music to express, not to impress.

jueves, 12 de abril de 2018

Back to blogging on Barcelona

It's been more than 3 months! Yeah, am back now with my recent coverage for The Jakarta Post on this important pianistic event. Again, it was edited more than I would like to, and they even changed my title (maybe because mine is not real English, but it's shorter, catchier and .... well, I'd use the word "should learn" instead of "must learn") so here's my original writing. Barcelona Pianistica .......................................................................................................................................... by Ananda Sukarlan, composer, founder of Ananda Sukarlan Award Piano Competition .......................................................................................................................................... The real issue of a young pianist's career is not to win competitions, but what happens after they win (or not). And that's not only their issue, it is also a big issue for the competition organizers: how to promote them and present them to "the real world" through promotors and organizers. A piano competition is not musical career; musical career starts immediately after one wins it. The problem is, winning a competition is diving to it, and most pianists learned how to dive so well but haven't learned how to swim. .......................................................................................................................................... That was one of the major issues discussed in the first ever Conference of International Piano Competitions (IPC), held at Palau de la Musica in Barcelona on March 19-21. It was attended by 154 representatives of piano competitions of all continents, even Africa (the IPC in Rabat, Marocco). It goes without saying that Italy has the biggest number of representatives, since it is the country with the most piano competitions on this planet to date. The brain behind all this is Gustav Alink, a guy who has a very rare interest and passion since his young age: piano competitions. Not that he is a musician ; oh yes, he studied music in his young age, but by playing violin, not piano. He studied mathematics at the university and worked in that field between 1981 and 1995, but then fully returned to the music world by conducting a lot of research in piano competitions that resulted in a series of books which he authored about the IPCs worldwide, and eventually created the Alink-Argerich Foundation (AAF) in 1999. As the name of the foundation implies, he founded it together with the prominent Argentinian pianist Martha Argerich. Argerich remains as the patron of this foundation to date, due to her constant support and interest in young talents. .......................................................................................................................................... Usually pianists win competitions before they are 25 (although most competitions put the limit 27 or 28 years of age for participants), and it is no secret that many promoters & concert organizers are reluctant to include "young, unknown pianists" in their concert series or festivals, even though they have proven their artistic excellence in competitions. In Indonesia, it is not a secret anymore that orchestras only hire soloists who are connected to them as friends, students of friends etc., and the weight of this "good connection" is heavier than the musical quality of the soloist(s) most of the time. This is one reason that I organize the biennal Ananda Sukarlan Award IPC (whose next edition will be July this year) since 2008: to provide pianists with artistic merits that the promotors, orchestra managers and organizers could just pick. .......................................................................................................................................... But what is "artistic excellence"? Many pianists define it as simply "knowing how to play Bach, Beethoven, Chopin & Liszt in a competition". Does the real world out there still need more pianists who play those classics? Carles Lama, Catalan pianist and manager of the CD company KNS Classical , put it wisely in his speech: "Music is about being unique". Too many young pianists have (great) talents and skill, but having a strong identity of oneself is rare. .......................................................................................................................................... Another classical but still always "hot" problem is the inevitable subjectivity of the jury members in the way they judge the participants, which goes down to one word, "respect". The judges should not have power over the participants; the participants deserve their places and awards according to their own artistic merit. Respect means from everybody to everybody: judge to participants and vice versa, and them to the audience and vice versa. The jury may judge the participants, but the audience will judge the jury. When there is respect, there is honesty and transparency. One solution offered was that "transparency equals secrecy". It is quite a radical solution, but worth trying: the judges should just give a mark to each participant and keep it secret from the other judges. Those numbers are then computed, and everyone should agree with the total which is the end result without further discussions. .......................................................................................................................................... It is a trend now to have prominent pianists, not pedagogues or "famous competition judges" as artistic directors of several competitions. This way, they automatically become the icon, or ambassador of the competition. Some of them who attended include Piers Lane for the Sydney IPC and Noriko Ogawa for the Hamamatsu IPC. Piers Lane is one of Australia's prominent artist, and his recording of the complete Piano Concertos of Malcolm Williamson has made the music of this Australian composer with a distinctive voice known to the world, and a big boost for Australian music worldwide. As with Noriko Ogawa, her most celebrated recording was the complete piano music of Toru Takemitsu. Ogawa also serves as the Cultural Ambassador for the National Autistic Society of Japan. .......................................................................................................................................... This conference served as a great meeting point for competition organizers, and hopefully if there is a next one, competitors would be encouraged to join as well. In any case, it is a great beginning to address many shortcomings of competitions ; some of these problems were still not solved, but at least they are addressed or being admitted that competitions may not be the best way to start a musical career, but it is, for now, the only feasible one.

viernes, 29 de diciembre de 2017

Honoured by The Jakarta Post

In today's edition of The Jakarta Post, which is their last edition of this year, they publish "Farewell 2017, Ringing in the New Year" which is interviews with --who they consider-- the most important figures of 2017. In the arts & culture, I am deeply honoured to be one of them, together with such prominent --and cool-- people: the pop singer Raisa, the bestseller author Intan Paramaditha, movie star Ario Bayu, designer Tex Saverio, contemporary artist FX Harsono, filmmaker Edwin and the most translated, and perhaps the most literary awards receiver, Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan. The Jakarta Post sent me their questions a few days ago, and these are my original answers. .......................................................................................................................................... ++ This year, 2017, what are the most important accomplishments that you made, both professionally and personally? John Lennon said that "life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans". I was commissioned by several institutions, rejected some due to time constraints and/or my disinterest with the subject, and accepted others, and I was quite happy with the works I wrote for those commissions I accepted. I felt I have contributed my grain of sand to the repertory of classical music. .......................................................................................................................................... Personally? My daughter entered the university, the faculty she has had the passion for a long time: mathematics. So she's happy, and I'm happy. .......................................................................................................................................... ++ As a musician is 2017 a happy year for you? Why? Please elaborate .......................................................................................................................................... It's quite an inspirational and fertile year for me, in terms of creativity. I met many inspirational new people and new friends. It's elaborated in the previous question, right? .......................................................................................................................................... ++ Is there any bad, or even worst, moment for you this year? Any wish that did not yet materialize? .......................................................................................................................................... Certainly it's that notorious event in November of my walkout during the Jakarta governor's speech, and my own speech afterwards. That wasn't the worst moment; it's the days following it, when it was politicized, twisted and slandered. I spent the next 4 days trying to protect my almamater from being attacked, by giving interviews where I told the truth, but not all the truth. I still wish, now that things have calmed down, to do a "tell all" interview of what really happened. Having said that, I would like to reitarerate that I don't feel sorry, nor regret for what I did. I did what I thought, and still think, is correct. I regret what happened afterwards and what some people did to it to satisfy their needs. What is good for me is that thanks to this incident, I discovered who my real friends are, and who stabbed me from the back. It was painful, but necessary. .......................................................................................................................................... ++ What's your biggest plan for 2018, professionally and personally? Maybe new project, travel plan or else? .......................................................................................................................................... I have long wished to write an opera that would describe the way an Aspie (a bearer of Asperger's Syndrome) think and feel. It doesn't have to be about an Aspie, but I would like it to have multilayered, juxtaposed emotions. It's difficult to describe it in words, of course. For now, I am looking for materials or stories, containing at least two persons of different characters, and I would like to mix them up. It could be surrealistic for some listeners, for example someone who is in love but full of anger with the person (s)he's in love with, etc. Perhaps the best way to describe it is the last scene of Godfather III, where Michael Corleone's daughter was shot and died in her father's arms: a violent scene, but the music is that exquisite melody of Cavalleria Rusticana. Basically it's to reveal to the listeners that we do have hidden emotions that we never experience, if not triggered by music. And I think only an Aspie can produce that kind of music. I am giving myself the deadline of the end of next year, since without the (self-imposed) deadline, I wouldn't finish it. .......................................................................................................................................... What is not planned by me nor my manager is the many celebrations by various institutions on my 50th birthday, for which I am very grateful. Mostly they are music schools or academies where their students study and perform my music for their instruments. I am deeply humbled. As my own 2018 goal, it is to accomplish the goals of 2017 that I should've done in 2016 coz I promised in 2015 to fulfil the resolution of 2014!

martes, 26 de diciembre de 2017

Interview on my work "Communication Breakdown" for flute, bassoon & piano

This is an interview by seni.co.id in Indonesian with me, around the time of the premiere of my 7-minute Trio for Flute, Bassoon & piano last October. I am sure google translate would help :) .......................................................................................................................................... Baru saja Ananda Sukarlan memperdanakan karya barunya yang cukup unik, yaitu "menterjemahkan" lukisan berjudul "Kegelapan" karya Kukuh Nuswantoro yang merupakan karya pemenang UOB Painting of the Year 2017 menjadi musik. Karya ini dikukuhkan sebagai pemenang dari Indonesia oleh dewan juri yang terdiri dari Agung Hujatnikajennong, Hendro Wiyanto dan Nindityo Adipurnomo. “Kegelapan” akan dikirim ke Singapura untuk berikutnya berkompetisi dalam UOB Painting of the Year tingkat Asia Tenggara awal November ini. Karya musik Ananda yang berjudul Communication Breakdown baru saja diperdanakan pada saat gala pengumuman pemenang di Ballroom gedung UOB, Rabu 25 Oktober yang lalu, dimainkan oleh pemain flute dari Spanyol Carmen Caballero, pemain fagot Stephanie Marcia dan Ananda sendiri. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni : Apa dasar anda untuk menerima permintaan UOB membuat karya ini sebelum anda tahu lukisannya? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: UOB memang sudah meminta saya sejak sebelum pemenang dipilih oleh dewan juri dan diumumkan. Waktu saya diminta untuk membuat musiknya, saya sebetulnya galau. Karena saya tidak bisa bilang "tidak bisa" setelah kita tahu karya pemenangnya. Kalau saya mau menolak, saya harus menolaknya sejak saat saya diminta, sebelum pemenangnya ketahuan. Tapi setelah saya pikir, saya mau menerima tantangan itu, karena toh saya selalu "menterjemahkan" lukisan-lukisan atau banyak hal yang saya lihat, baca atau rasakan ke dalam musik. Mungkin ini semacam "anugrah" atau "sisi positif" dari sindrome Asperger yang saya miliki. Nah, apakah saya akan menyukai lukisan itu atau tidak, itu lain hal. Tapi saya terima tantangannya. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni: Berapa lama anda butuhkan untuk membuat musiknya? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: Inginnya sih lebih lama, tapi saya hanya dikasih waktu sekitar 10 hari, sejak juri bertemu untuk menentukan pemenangnya sampai acara gala-nya tgl 25 Oktober lalu. Tapi itu justru membuat saya lebih fokus, tidak sedikit-sedikit bolak-balik ke dapur bikin kopi, nyemil dsb. hahaha .... ........................................................................................................................................... Seni : Apa yang anda lihat di lukisan pada pandangan pertama, dan bagaimana menterjemahkannya? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: Yang terutama adalah warna yang dominan, atau kombinasi warna. Itu menentukan akord-akordnya, serta "suasana" musiknya. Seringkali saya baru dapat mengerti emosi atau ekspresi dari suatu karya seni, baik lukisan, tulisan (baik puisi atau prosa) atau visual art lainnya justru setelah saya terjemahkan ke musik. Kemudian garis-garis serta figur itu menjadi semacam melodi, yang tentu saja karakternya menentukan instrumen atau kombinasi instrumen apakah yang akan memainkannya. Yang cukup mengejutkan buat saya, setelah karya saya selesai, itu partiturnya secara visual ada kesamaannya dengan lukisannya. "Taoge-taoge" not-not balok itu memenuhi halaman partitur membuat partitur itu jadi penuh dengan "kepala-kepala" yang ada di lukisannya. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni: Bagaimana dengan struktur musiknya, apakah mengikuti struktur lukisannya? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: Nah, ini belum tentu. Begini, kalau lukisan atau visual art lainnya itu menggunakan ruang (space), sedangkan di musik kita menggunakan waktu (time). Jadi "pandangan pertama" ke lukisan itu sangat penting, bisa 2 hal yang terjadi: bagian mana dari detail lukisan itu yang menarik perhatian kita, atau kebalikannya, kita lihatnya secara menyeluruh kemudian kita melihat detailnya. Untuk lukisan figur, seperti Monalisa (karya Leonardo da Vinci) misalnya, biasanya yang pertama lah yang terjadi, tapi di lukisan "Kegelapan" ini yang kedua. Kita tangkap dulu keseluruhannya, baru melihat detailsnya. Nah proses inilah menjadi linimasa dari karya musiknya. Karena saya melihat bahwa tema yang mendasar adalah kegagalan komunikasi, saya jadi ingat lagu Led Zeppelin tahun 70an, Communication Breakdown. Musik saya pun saya beri judul itu jadinya. Saya mengambil motif ritmiknya dari situ jadinya, dan ada quotation lagu aslinya 3 birama di tengah. Tapi musiknya saya akhiri dengan motif dari Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, yang menggambarkan suatu harapan akan keindahan dari sesuatu yang sudah ada sejak dahulu, tapi kini kita kehilangan. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni : Apa kesan anda terhadap lukisan itu setelah anda melihatnya? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: Hahaha .... itu situasi yang cukup lucu sih, saya kira lagi-lagi karena sindrome Asperger saya. Saya sih merasakan kuatnya karakter lukisan "Kegelapan" itu. Tapi saya tidak menyadari betapa "mengerikan"nya lukisan itu sampai setelah saya menyelesaikan musiknya. Musik saya sendiri, setelah saya baca partiturnya dari depan sampai belakang, cukup .... apa yah ....klaustrofobik, mungkin. Memang sih menurut mas Kukuh, itu tentang kekacauan, tapi kan kekacauan di seni itu harus terstruktur. Kita tidak bisa asal kacau saja. .......................................................................................................................................... Selain itu, setelah musiknya bunyi di kepala saya saya jadi sadar bahwa warna keseluruhan lukisan itu sebetulnya bukan "gelap" tapi "pucat", karena yang bunyi ternyata bukan akord misalnya mayor (yang biasanya "cemerlang"), minor (nah, ini lebih "gelap"), tapi akord lain lagi yang tidak ada namanya. Bunyi akord itu, kalau saya mesti katakan dengan kata-kata, ya "pucat". Buat saya sih ini sebuah discovery yang cukup surprising, karena biasanya saya tidak pernah memakai harmoni dan akord seperti itu. Sedangkan hal lain lagi adalah tidak adanya progresi akord, dimana akord "berjalan" dari satu akord ke berikutnya. Ini ada beberapa akord yang pucat yang kemudian saling bergiliran dan permutasi saja, dan inilah yang memberi kesan klaustrofobik karena musiknya seperti berputar-putar saja tidak berarah. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni : Lukisan apa saja yang telah anda buat jadi musik? .......................................................................................................................................... AS : Antara lain ada "Bacchus & Ariadne", yang ada di National Gallery of London, terus "Ixion"nya Jose de Ribera di Museo del Prado di Madrid. Yang lebih kontemporer, terakhir adalah karya saya Annanolli's Sky, itu berdasarkan sejumlah lukisan (jadi bukan satu lukisan tertentu) Tero Annanolli, seniman Finlandia. Di seluruh karyanya sampai sekitar 2 tahun yang lalu itu ada karakteristik yang sangat kuat dari caranya melukis langit (menggunakan bahan kanvas tersebut sebagai elemen penting, kadang-kadang), yang sangat menginspirasi saya. .......................................................................................................................................... Seni: Sudah dipagelarkan di Indonesia kah "Annanolli's Sky"? .......................................................................................................................................... AS: Nanti tanggal 10 Desember di Jakarta, untuk merayakan 100 tahun kemerdekaan Finlandia. Konser ini diadakan oleh Kedutaan Finlandia dan mendatangkan musikus Finlandia juga. Karya itu sebetulnya diminta oleh International Competition for Chamber Music di Arnuero, Spanyol 3 tahun lalu. Pokoknya saya diminta untuk membuat karya untuk piano dan kuartet gesek, temanya bebas. Nah karena saya baru datang dari pameran Annanolli, musik saya otomatis datangnya dari banyak kreasinya dia.

lunes, 25 de diciembre de 2017

Another interview about social media with Indonesia Tatler

I dunno why Indonesia Tatler likes to interview me about social media. It's like there are no real social media experts around. But anyway, I gave them my grain of salt. Hope it's useful. This was done early December this year. I post my original answers, unedited. ........................................................................................................................................... 1. How opposed are you to the idea of social media as a positive platform for youths to showcase their talents? ........................................................................................................................................... I am 100% for it! It's just that we should use it wisely, and like a good performer, always think that whatever we post is for other people to see / read, and be ready that any of our posts could be retweeted/reposted and be viral. I have my own rule of "5 don'ts" before posting: 1. don't seek approval. 2. don't show off/boast/brag. 3. don't complain (I break this particular rule a lot, especially if I am feeling mellow watching the sky. But I try to make my complains poetic!). 4. don't be unkind (this include attacking or sharing a private information about someone). 5. don't post anything unnecessary to be read by your followers. Remember, their time is as precious as yours. ........................................................................................................................................... 2. What do you think social media has done in reviving classical music to the modern world? ........................................................................................................................................... I wrote an article in 2015 for Indonesia Tatler about this : http://www.indonesiatatler.com/arts-culture/etiquette/is-classical-music-really-dying-and-social-media-its-murderer and I won't change a word of that article --except some numbers of some celeb's followers and that now Instagram has gained popularity more than twitter in classical music --. In Asia certainly it has helped in bringing classical music to a (much) wider audience a lot. It also has proven that classical musicians are not as "narrow minded" as we're always looked upon. Now people can see that we feed on everything around us to inspire our artistry. Not only that, we interact in the business side of it: we are endorsed by certain products (not necessarily related to music) or becoming ambassadors of a certain cause. It can also benefit a community, like what I did today, using social media for socializing and informing on Asperger's Syndrome that I myself have. Personally speaking, questions and discussions with me on twitter tend to deal with other issues than music since those issues are more familiar with the laymen to be able to connect to the arts. You want an example? Look, on what issue are you asking me about in this interview? There you have it, right? ........................................................................................................................................... 3. In some recent news, you mentioned that social media has relation with the low level of tolerance in Indonesia and around the world, can you elaborate more? ........................................................................................................................................... Saying that social media is destroying us is like saying that guns are killing us. Of course it's the people who pull the trigger, or those who manages the social media. The problem is that the majority of the Indonesian society is not educated & prepared enough to use the social media. What we post, true or not, would be read by our followers, and people could retweet or repost it without checking its truth. An example: one could claim that he knows Arabic or a Qur'an expert, and post something that propagates fear among the ignorants such as "don't vote for a leader of a different religion than yours, otherwise you'd go to hell", and how could you validate it if you don't know Arabic? ........................................................................................................................................... 4. How can we improve the social media’s role when it comes to increase the level of tolerance among Indonesian society? ........................................................................................................................................... Social media can offer many distinct advantages as a new business model for musicians and companies in general, and there are people regularly using these sites who are aware yet genuine and authentic about what they put up in the face of ‘social perfection’. Even more than any "old fashioned business", there are ethics to do this, and one should think of the social impact when one posts something and not only aim for generating a high rating and popularity and in the end, financial income. ........................................................................................................................................... 5. What do you think is the biggest problem plaguing Indonesian society right now? ........................................................................................................................................... It's the cyber armies, Saracen accounts, hate speech by the religious radicals. They are doing criminal acts, not unlike robbery or rape, and they should be investigated and processed urgently. Every passing day is crucial to their strength, so time is crucial in cracking them down. President Jokowi is doing a great job in the infrastructure building in our country, but if he doesn't deal with those issues I mentioned, all his works will amount to nothing, since Saracen would prevail in provoking conflicts among the uneducated people, which is a big number. Every December, the Islamic radicals attacks against those who celebrate Christmas are getting more intense and ridiculous. Saracen does it by publishing fake news (mostly about religion, a sensitive issue among low class / uneducated people) about a community as if that community is attacking or mocking another community. Jokowi should not underestimate the power of ignorant people in huge quantities. Social media has a major role in bringing up democracy, and we always forget that what Plato meant about democracy in "The Republic" is not only that everybody has the same rights. It means that the leaders who are to be elected should only be fulfilled by the state of his necessary desires, but not the unnecessary ones. Necessary desires are desires we cannot overcome, such as our desire for shelter and sustenance. Unnecessary desires are desires that we are able to overcome, yet refuse to. These desires include luxuries and lavish possessions. These types of desires are a result of the necessity of status in the population, and that is addictive to any leaders. That's the root of corruption: not the necessity of money, but of status and power. So, voters should judge their candidates based solely on this, not on the similarity of religion or race. And the conflicts based on religion and race are easily triggered by the social media.

miércoles, 1 de noviembre de 2017

When deadline is approaching and a tweet saved my life

(Well ok, it's not my life, just my music. But music is my life, so there we are...) You know what's nice to be a composer? You can steal anyone's ideas from any fields of art, and nobody would notice. Not even the person you stole from. ........................................................................................................................................... On twitter, I follow lots of writers. They like to tweet flashes of ideas, which I can then use for my music in any aspects, transforming them to melodies, chords, rhythms, instrumental colours even forms and structures. And google arts & culture (before it's called the Google Art project), it's the coolest thing too! You can see hundreds of great paintings in Los Angeles, London, Del Prado (Madrid) so I found combinations of colours that were unimaginable for me before. ........................................................................................................................................... I've been scribbling materials for my new piece, which is basically connecting motifs from Puccini's Nessun Dorma and Ismail Marzuki's Melati di Tapal Batas. This work, entitled I Wish Pavarotti Had Met Marzuki, tries to convey what if Pavarotti knew Ismail Marzuki's music, the Indonesian songwriter I so admire. I believe that if Marzuki were used as a cultural asset of the nation and the government would seriously introduce his music to the international world, it will boost the image of Indonesian music as much as Puccini for Italy, or Mozart for Austria. Usually I plan a sort of architectural structure before I write one note. This time it is the other way around. I know the materials and how to develop them, but couldn't find the right structure. I always know how to write, but not always what to write. This time it's the other way around, since the overall form is still not taking shape in my simple brain. ........................................................................................................................................... Not until last night when I came back from my midnight walk around the pool of my appartment, still trying to find the right structure (I wonder if architects also do this???) and found a tweet by my admired writer, Dewi Ria Utari. She writes mostly short stories, even in a "horror" genre which I normally don't really fancy. But hers are different, and I would even call them poetic proses (or prosaic poems). The tweet is simple : Ketika senyap terlalu gaduh. Maka gelap kehilangan kelam (When silence is too noisy. Then darkness lost its dimness). Poignantly poetic, of course, but also very useful and practical for me! So, one of the tweets that I tweeted her back is "It's gonna be dark chords transforming into bright ones. Quiet gestures growing to virtuosic pianism. Back 2 work!"........................................................................................................................................... Deadline is approaching, the concert is in 3 weeks and every night becomes a WTF! night for me, keeping developing ideas but blindly walking in a strange jungle without any ideas of orientation. Press conference is scheduled next Tuesday, and I absolutely hate talking about my work to journalists (or even anybody) when it's not at least 90% finished. Not that it hasn't happened before, but I was always feeling burdened and weary about it. Thanks to DRU's tweet, am hoping to finish it between tonight and tomorrow, so I will have a quiet relaxing weekend. Now I am doing a COMPOSER's job : composing materials that are scattered around. With a clear idea of form in mind. And as Mary Poppins said : In ev'ry job that must be done, there's an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job's a game! ........................................................................................................................................... On the 26th of November, the Pavarotti Foundation will bring Pavarotti's best students and Pavarotti's personal pianist to Jakarta, for a concert at Ciputra Artpreneur at 7 p.m. Pavarotti's widow will be present, which will make this event special. This event could be realized thanks to the invitation of the Italian Embassy and Instituto Italiano in Cultura in collaboration with the Ciputra Artpreneur. Indonesia's most prominent composer & pianist, Ananda Sukarlan, has agreed the commission by the Italian Embassy and Pavarotti Foundation to compose a new virtuosic piano work as a tribute to Pavarotti, who unfortunately had not visited and witness the beauty of Indonesia. At this upcoming concert on the 26th, this work will be premiered by the composer himself, which is expected to be a milestone in Italian and Indonesian cultural relations. (quoted from the press release by the Italian Embassy)

viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

My preface to my Transformations on Indonesian Children Songs

Children are the best learners. They catch and digest new informations so naturally. Through seeing, hearing and acting with the information, children record things and experiences that would benefit their future life. They then reproduce what they have just got, and apply it in daily life. Thus, songs are one of the best learning media for kids. Through songs, children would hear and then record the songs in their brain. If they like a particular song, they would try to sing along with it. What I mean "like" concerns both the melodies and the lyrics: they should be simple but catchy. This method could be applied in language and other learning processes. Language learning would help children to learn new things easier. ............................................................................................................................................ But what is happening now in Indonesia is that we have no more children songs like we, older generations, used to have. I used to sing songs by A.T. Mahmud, Ibu Soed and S.M. Mochtar (although I didn't know this latter's name, I just loved his songs a.o. "Kasih Ibu" or "Mother's Love"). ............................................................................................................................................ Now that Indonesian young pianists are clearly superior in technical capabilities than those in Europe, I felt the urge to give them piano pieces that deal with children songs from my era, back in the 1970s. My hope is that they would look at the original songs (now that there is youtube and other means to do it), learn it again and learn the lyrics too, since nowadays there are not many good Indonesian children songs being made. Indonesian children now sing American teen-idol songs, which is good for their English, but hey, we are Indonesian, right? ............................................................................................................................................ These piano pieces are just based on children songs, but are by no means playable by beginners. They are done for concert purposes, although they are indeed easier than, let's say, Rapsodia Nusantara. They are, however, lighter in character than the Rapsodia's, so they could serve as "encores" for a concert, if not being played in the main program. In the past I had written Variations on Ibu Soed's "Kupu-kupu" and Daljono's "Bintang Kecil" which were published in Alicia's 6th Piano Book, and since I enjoyed writing them so much, I decided to do more. Indeed, I had enormous pleasure doing them everywhere and every time I had some spare time. Most of them are in variations form, as I wrote each variations without knowing the overall structure beforehand and only order them when I thought I had enough material. Another thing is about the fugues, canons and other polyphonic writings, which I wrote during long journeys or waitings in airport lounges and just incorporate them in the piece on a later date. I hope (young) pianists would have as much fun playing them, and the audience listening to them, as I had writing them. @anandasukarlan September 2017