sábado, 6 de mayo de 2017

The Forms of Things Unknown

It was really a happy coincidence when Helen Gumanti, pianist and representative of Fazioli & Bluthner pianos asked me to do a piece for multiple pianos based on a section of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". My first piece for 4 pianos was based on the first two lines of "Richard III" : Now is the winter of our discontent.... . To do that I used Vivaldi's theme from his famous "Winter" of the Four Seasons and mixed it with contemporary riffs inspired by Michael Jackson (to be honest, I forgot which song in particular, .... or perhaps there was no song in particular of MJ?). ............................................................................................................................................ Since I wrote Vivaldi's Winter of Discontent I always thought of writing another piece for multiple pianos to complement it. For this new piece, it is for 3 pianos as Helen Gumanti requested, and I used part of Theseus's speech and took the phrase The Forms of Things Unknown as the title. I started sketching it in Jakarta and these days while I am in Surabaya I worked and finished it during the flight from Jakarta (we had 1 hour extra being inside the plane without taking off, waiting for the queue of other planes to take off at Soekarno Hatta Airport! To be honest, I was busy composing so it didn't feel like 1 hour) and in my hotel room. ............................................................................................................................................ The creative process for "Forms" is different from "Winter" : I took these phrases and use it as a method for composing : And as imagination bodies forth / The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen / Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name. ............................................................................................................................................ Therefore the piece is built of small motifs that just develop themselves, among others by repetitions. But there is one motif that goes through transformation throughout the whole piece: 4 notes ascending, and then descending. Those four notes changed from whole tone scale into a pentatonic scale and even octotonic scale. ............................................................................................................................................ As usual in my "percussive" pieces, I use very strong rhythms. Besides, Chendra Panatan will do a choreography of this piece too, so the piece is definitely "danceable". For my rhythms, my orientations are always those rock groups of the 80s and 90s such as Pet Shop Boys, Queen and my biggest influence of all time, Michael Jackson. But after I finished "Forms", I realized that A-Ha's "Take on Me" is everywhere in the piece; I guess it was because I put it in my songlist during my flight to Surabaya. ............................................................................................................................................ Anyway, I am here in Surabaya as the judge for the Nusantara Piano Competition. After Surabaya, it will be Semarang in July, and then the finals in August in Jakarta. But there will be another round of semifinal in Jakarta, so those of you young pianists who didn't join it before, or joined it but didn't get to the finals, you can have another opportunity by joining it in Jakarta. You can check their instagram account at @pianonusantara. Anyway, good luck for all pianists and piano lovers!

martes, 25 de abril de 2017

Sadomasochism in (my) Music?

10 years after I wrote Rescuing Ariadne for flute & piano that I planned to be the first piece of a trilogy, today a message arrived suddenly when I was at the Kualalumpur airport from my highly esteemed flutist friend, Wendela van Swol who also champions many of my works for flute, saying that she would perform Rescuing Ariadne and Narcissus Dying (my second piece in the planned trilogy) at the Andalusian Flute Convention "Flautissima" in about two weeks time. I thought this would be the right time to finish the third piece, Ixion, Bound to a Wheel of Fire, and so on the plane back to Jakarta I started working on it again. After I arrived home I immediately tried it on my piano in my apartment, and after a few revisions, I sent it to Wendela directly. ............................................................................................................................................ This last piece of my Trilogy is inspired first by the painting of Jose de Ribera I observed at the Museo del Prado (Madrid) several times. The last time I saw it was during the summer of 2016, where somehow it electrified me more than the other times I saw it. Perhaps it was because I read Ovid's Metamorphosis about Ixion before I came to the museum. As with the other pieces in this trilogy, I can't tell you whether they were more inspired by the paintings or by Ovid's Metamorphosis which lies beside my bed already for so many years. ............................................................................................................................................ I quote the explanation of the painting from Del Prado's website: The father of the race of centaurs, Ixion was punished by madness for murdering his father-in-law. After he was pardoned he attempted to supplant Jupiter in Juno’s bed and was consequently condemned to be turned on a wheel for all eternity. Ribera depicts the wheel being set in motion by a satyr who has chained Ixion to it, allowing the artist to display his mastery of anatomy. ............................................................................................................................................ According to Ovid's "Metamorphosis", this is a wheel of fire, which also sparks the inspiration for my piece. This certainly is the most virtuosic of the pieces in the trilogy, and it should be played as fast as possible so that it lasts under 2 minutes. The crescendi and diminuendi are very important to be exaggerated since they depict the sparks of wild fire and the rotating wheel. The duration of the whole trilogy would then be around 12 minutes. ............................................................................................................................................ I dedicate this piece, affectionately to the flutist Roberto Alvarez , a member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra who has performed many of my flute pieces. After I sketched the piece a few months ago, thinking to give it as a surprise gift to Roberto, it was just lying around for a few months since I sort of knew what I would write. Wendela's message also forced me to think about the general title of the trilogy. I've been tinkering with the title for a long time. The funny thing is that all 3 pieces have sadomasochistic aspects with these heroes. I thought of quite a naughty title, but I abandoned the idea (and I'm not telling it to you!) and succumbed to a simpler title, "Trilogia Mitologica". My trio for flute, viola & piano has already a naughty title, as you know, Menage a Trois , and I am not putting more naughty titles for the moment he he he .... The order of the pieces is Rescuing Ariadne, Narcissus Dying and Ixion, Bound to a Wheel of Fire. ............................................................................................................................................ Trilogia Mitologica as a whole, will receive its World Premiere at the closing of the Andalusia Flute Convention "Flautissima", May 7th in a matinee concert in Malaga. Performed by Wendela van Swol (flute) and Santiago Baez (piano). Each piece could, in fact, be played separately, but it would be rather strange to perform "Ixion" separately since it's only about 2 minutes long, right?

sábado, 11 de marzo de 2017

Rapsy Littlehands, and one thing about Rapsy 18

With so many children prodigies on the piano, many of them (or their parents or teachers) asked me if there is a Rapsodia Nusantara, without being less virtuosic, that is playable by small hands. That means there are no chords that span wider than a 7th, since playing octaves is still quite difficult for them. I indeed have thought about it for a long time. It's not easy to make, since we usually need those octaves in the climactic sections. This is a unique period in classical music (and mostly cases in Asian countries), where children already acquired the pianistic techniques of the adults, but of course physically they are still, well, children. And virtuosic works for piano usually need big hands that can strech the interval of an octave or more. ............................................................................................................................................ Since I was stuck (already about a year or more) with my Second Balinese Mosquito Dance, I thought that it might be a material to be integrated into a Rapsy. And voila, I was right. This new Rapsy has a Toccata mood. It is also a break from the previous Rapsies which turn to be more and more heavily contrapuntal. Through the years I've grown an affinity with the passacaglia form, and both Rapsy 17 and 18 have passacaglias (it started already with Rapsy 10). I still don't give a number to this Rapsodia, which is based on a central-Javanese folktune "Padhang Wulan". ............................................................................................................................................ One thing I forgot in my preface for Rapsy 18 is about the beginning of the piece. Those tremoli are inspired by gangsing (or "gasing" according to some provinces in Indonesia), a toy made of wood or bamboo which I couldn't find the English translation to it. During my childhood, I dreamed about making music out of gangsing of different sizes. Gangsing turns with a gyroscopic law, and a small hole on it makes the wind blow inside and sounds into a certain pitch. Apparently the oldest gangsing in Indonesia is in Riau, since before the Dutch colonization, and therefore this Rapsy (which is based on a folktune from Riau province) is appropriate to be opened with a gangsing-effect prelude.

martes, 10 de enero de 2017

Bagaskara's In Love

Still about Annanolli's Sky (please check my previous entry). I told ya that I wanna write this music which is just an exhibition of combining vibrant and dark colours, without so much sturm und drang. Sort of like the new Zhang Yimou film, The Great Wall which is a delight to the eye. In the architectural plan of the music, there is about 2,5 minutes of slow music, sandwiched between fast sections, and of course I thought "oh it will come". And the time did come, but "it" didn't. I just didn't have any clue what to write, or on the contrary, I had every possible motifs worked out, developed, exploited and with all the compositional techniques inside my bag of tricks, somehow it still didn't work. I knew what was the problem. I always know HOW to write, but I don't always know WHAT to write. I was clueless about the character, about what to express. I was stuck for about a week, a week spent writing other "useless" music, going out with friends, and oh yes, it was around New Year, and I got drunk for about 3 days in a row, until ..... A young friend popped up through Whatsapp. He asked me for some time to listen to his life problems. And yeah, he is in love. Not that tormented love that I used to have; this is plain, simple, straightforward love. The kind of love that I need to express in this particular music. Becoz ... u know how to write music, right? Fall in love, get your heart broken, analyze it, turn it into music. The greatest art are always made with a broken heart. But certainly this method doesn't work for the slow part of Annanolli's Sky, which is so vibrant and exuberant. And I don't want to involve my own past (which is painful, therefore always inspirational) in this music, coz memories are the worst enemy of the heart trying to heal from the wounds of the past. ............................................................................................................................................ And hey, he has a nice name too, Bagaskara which means Sunrise. What could be more vibrant than sunrises? And those 9 letters make a sweet 4 notes from the pentatonic motif connected with my first theme with an extra tritone, from A to (e)S, which makes it even more strangely exquisite. I start to believe in destiny ... and Ecclesiastes 5:11, you know, God makes everything beautiful in His time. And so I started to sketch the piece. I designed it to be playable as a separate piece for violin and piano, of course with the quintet in my mind. So, I finished Bagaskara's In Love, a 2'20 piece for violin and piano, and I will orchestrate it and link it to the first section of Annanolli's Sky. .............................................................................................................................................. I know, I know, you're gonna ask me, well this has nothing to do with Annanolli's works? No, of course not. But a work of art, though inspired by another work of art, is independent in itself. It is a diary of the artist's life, at that moment, and simply a development of a series of musical materials. And well, I could argue that this kinda love is exactly what is needed in my piece. Not a tormented, or unrequited, or dramatic one. In fact, I gave an advice to my young B friend, that while they are separated in distance, just look at the sky and remember that they both are looking at the same sky. The sky, as anything else in nature connects us, not those shitty Whatsapp Video call or Skype. Those are electronics, artificially made by man to give artificial closeness and togetherness. And then, Bagaskara's In Love was written very quickly and almost intuitively, just like many of Annanolli's works. It was written in the night right after I finished talking with B, took me about an hour and I revised a few things the next day after I tried it on my piano. ............................................................................................................................................ Thank you God for making this couple in love and solve my musical problem!

jueves, 5 de enero de 2017

In Search of Another Sky

(my own program notes for Annanolli's Sky for piano & string quartet) ............................................................................................................................................ The sky always have romantic implications for me. When I miss someone I love, I always look at the sky and imagine that we are looking at the same sky, no matter how far our distance is. "The sky is an immortal tent built by the Sons of Los / And every space that a man views around his dwelling-place / Standing on his own roof or in his garden on a mount / Of twenty-five cubits in height, such space is his universe", said William Blake. ............................................................................................................................................ But then, "There is another sky, / Ever serene and fair, / And there is another sunshine, / Though it be darkness there" said Emily Dickinson. And I, throughout my life, have been searching for this other sky. And since I couldn't find it in the sky we are all under, then I search for it in the skies we artificially --and beautifully-- created, through works of art. .............................................................................................................................................. I have always been impressed by John Constable's Study of Clouds at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Practically any Turner sky touches my heart deeply, but the late skyscapes (does this word exist?), generally painted at sunrise, often on the spot, and very nearly abstract, for me are more sublime than anything in the history of English art. .............................................................................................................................................. I have written my work for flute and piano, Rescuing Ariadne, based on Titian's painting Bacchus & Ariadne to which I have stared at (even gazed is a better word, since it's like a shining bright star for me) hours and hours at the National Gallery every time I visited London. Of course it is a masterpiece, but during the years I started to realize that I am more impressed by the sky he created. He painted eight glimmering stars, a silver lining and a faint glow from the east: it's a small corner of deep blue heaven. Even if you didn't know that the scene below represented love at first sight, you would still sense some poignant dawning in the sky above – the exact transition between darkness and light. Titian is, as far as I know, not known as a painter of skies; of all the great claims you could make for him, this would probably be the most kitsch. But the sky in Bacchus and Ariadne is as wondrous, and profound, as the whole painting itself. ............................................................................................................................................ Recently I attended the opening of an exhibition by a Finnish artist, Tero Annanolli in Jakarta, organized by the Embassy of Finland here. What struck me is how unromantic his skies are. ............................................................................................................................................ His paintings are based on the material of the "canvas". I managed to talk with him briefly, asking this techniques, his artistic views etc., and I transcribe what I heard from him in the following. If you read this, Tero, please correct me if there is something wrong here. ............................................................................................................................................ The creative process itself is fast and intuitive. He uses ink, tempera, oil paint, acrylic and ballpoint pen and charcoal technique. The artist uses in his painting also of metal sheets to create several layers and shades. He also employs recycled materials such as curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads. The recycled material gives the work its significance. Basic materials are part of the colors and the message of the painting. The issues that occupies this fascinating artist are plants, flowers, landscapes, boats and human figures. In representing humanity Tero is passionate about the relationship between a man and landscape and the surrounding space. ............................................................................................................................................ So you see, he didn't really mention about the sky. The space, yes, since it is part of the "canvas". Well, we composers use silence as the canvas of our music. And it is that very space that fascinates me. I am trying to make music without any significant melody, unlike the music I have written before. I try to bring forward that space, that sky which makes his paintings look so different than the others I have seen. It's another step of my search for Dickinson's other sunshine, though it be darkness there. That splendid, silent sky. Anyhow, we are all under it, you and I. ............................................................................................................................................ My new work for piano quintet (piano & string quartet) Annanolli's Sky, is commissioned to open the Arnuero International Chamber Music Competition next April 7th. It will be premiered by the Cuarteto Ars Hispanica with myself on the piano. The duration is ca. 10 minutes

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Foreword to Rapsodia 17-19, "December 2016" & "Variations"

It's been almost 2 years since I published my latest scores of Rapsodia Nusantara (at that moment it was almost simultaneous with my Fantasies & Variations which contains 5 pieces), and Rapsy 17-20 was indeed written during this period, but they were just lying around waiting to be finished and totally revised. Finishing a rather complex piece is the most procrastinating thing for me, since I know exactly what to write, but I am so lazy writing the actual (millions of) notes. ............................................................................................................................................ Even though I have Rapsy 20 and 21 80% ready, I decided that they will be for my next publication. It's funny that the 2 remaining pieces in this book, December 2016 and Variations on "Ibu Pertiwi" were written pretty quickly, in just a few days, as you can read below. ............................................................................................................................................ Rapsy 17 and 18 contain piano sketches for my Chamber Symphony no. 1 and orchestral work "An Ode to the Nation", both commissioned by Indonesia's 3rd President B.J. Habibie through his Habibie - Ainun Foundation. There are bits that aren't included in the orchestral works, since they are purely pianistic. Rapsy 17 is based on the Central Java folksong "Lir-Ilir" and no. 18 is a set of variations and passacaglia on "Soleram", a folksong from Riau province, Sumatra. Rapsy 19 is based on the first half of the Sundanese (West Java) folksong "Manuk Dadali", with treatments resembling the atmosphere of a Balinese gamelan. ............................................................................................................................................ The two remaining pieces are not as virtuosic as those Rapsies above, and they were written relatively quickly, triggered by the events in December 2016. They could be played by, say, young pianists of grade 7 or 8, as long as they are musically quite mature. But speaking of maturity, my older Rapsies are now played by many children in Indonesia, even as young as 11 years old, as you can search in youtube. Yeah, in some parts you can almost hear their age, but certainly not in the fast, furious and virtuosic passages! ............................................................................................................................................ The Variations on "Ibu Pertiwi" started itself while I was watching TV, when our hard-working, highly dedicated & kind-hearted governor of Jakarta, Basuki Purnama or more famous by his nickname Ahok, was sitting in court, being a patsy, slandered by a group of so-called Islamists. Ahok had put many corruptors in jail, and he is popular among the people. Next February there will be a regional election so he is of course standing in the way of the other candidates, and the only way to put him away is through smearing him by editing a video of him talking, so that the edited video became viral. To make things worse, he is of Chinese descendant, and a Christian. Ahok was weeping in court, and I immediately tweeted "Ahok's tears is the tears of Ibu Pertiwi (translated literally, Mother Country)". There is an old nationalistic song, Ibu Pertiwi, whose composer and lyricist remain anonymous until now, and so I started to scribble some sketches, a set of variations based on it. It turned out to be quite a melancholic piece, with only 1 fast variation. The trial was on the 13th of December, the day I started to write the music, and it was finished on the 15th. ............................................................................................................................................ This situation of increasing religious intolerance in Indonesia triggered me to write a piece, which, for not having trouble in looking for a fancy title I decided to call it simply December 2016. So, in fact the title is not "what happened in December 2016" but more of "what I would wish December 2016 would be". The concept of the piece is simple : that 2 music of different religions could sound together in perfect harmony. I start the music with "The First Noel" tune which grow dissonant, and then the melodic material of the usual adzan (a call for prayer in the mosque) creeps in from afar. It then intertwines itself with the First Noel tune, which is still in minor mode, but gradually both separates from each other, and the music ends with both melodic materials in full glory, each not killing each other but securely establishing themselves instead and even complementing each other into a victorious final. ............................................................................................................................................ When the Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Jakarta (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute) asked me to do something for their fundraising event, I thought this new piano piece of mine would suit well for it. During that charity event, this piece was bought by Andi Gani Nena Wea, to whom this piece is then dedicated.

lunes, 31 de octubre de 2016

My speech at the World Culture Forum 2016, Bali

Since the video of our performance at the closing of the World Culture Forum 2016 in Bali (which has now turned to be the most viewed video from all events recorded on youtube from the WCF 2016) my speech has been circulating around too. Here is the link to that video, and I post the transcript of my speech below it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_2fxlD2XGw ............................................................................................................................................ His Excelencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, ............................................................................................................................................ If you google "classical music is", google will automatically continue with their three most searched words: "dying" , "for snobs" and "boring". This may be the most 3 top searched words in Europe or the USA, but let's check the facts. For example, I am sure you all know the town Salzburg or the country Finlandia. Now, what automatically connect with those two names? The first would be Mozart, and the second Sibelius. Two icons of classical music separated 100 years apart. Their names are used for chocolates and also a beautiful park with Sibelius monument in Helsinki. Now THAT'S the power of classical music. I believe if a country is a shop, its artistic product is the shop window. Mention Florence and we immediately think of the great paintings, mention Barcelona and we think of its buildings by the architect Antoni Gaudi. ............................................................................................................................................ Sometimes art looks as if it is cheap, and we even give it for free, as we can see and listen now through social media. But we all know, when a product is free, then the consumer IS the product. Art is one of the most powerful means to introduce our country to the outside world. A way to attract tourists and investors, if we want to connect it economically, but also simply it is a way to make friends and diplomatic relationships. ............................................................................................................................................ I believe that music is a universal language because it can connect to our emotions directly, bypassing the mind almost entirely. Also, the inherent mathematical structure of music can easily cross cultural barriers as well. But things are not so simple. ............................................................................................................................................ Music as a medium of expression is universal the same way spoken language as a medium of communication is universal. Just like languages which vary from similar dialects to virtually mutually unintelligible languages, music of various cultures and various styles are not readily accessible and understood by everybody. Also cultural conditioning and assimilation is essential if someone wants to speak an accent-free language as a native or like a native. The same goes with music. The so called Western classical music is only a form of music. It is now widespread in the world thanks to centuries of western colonization and modern media. I, as a musician deeply rooted in the western tradition, can often hear a foreign "accent" when western classical music is performed by musicians who come from countries far removed from the west, or western performers no longer in touch with the traditional styles of performance. It is neither a bad thing nor a good thing per se. It's like listening to CNN international where almost every reporter has a foreign accent. Is it noticeable? Yes! Is it distracting? Not really! But of course, the best reporter is one talking and expressing in his own mother tongue. ............................................................................................................................................ In any case, music is like a foreign language. You need to learn the notes like you learn the alphabet. Then you study the grammar, and then try to speak it or write in it. If you want to learn a new language you have to start from scratch again. The same with music. In order to sit through a 3-hour long Italian as well as Chinese opera, and to truly enjoy it, an open disposition won't be enough. You will need to know much about the style and culture. And to give a believable performance of it, you need much more than that. You need to have fully assimilated the Chinese culture and language. Otherwise, your performance will always have that foreign accent which on this particular case may distract the listener. And that is why Indonesian musicians need Indonesian classical music in order to present ourselves in the international forum. We can't compete with those international musicians performing Mozart and Beethoven, our "foreign accent" will always be revealed. We perform the best music of our heritage, although using western instruments and even western techniques. ............................................................................................................................................ Indonesian classical music does not really exist, because we have great diversity of ethnic cultures. Or shall I rephrase it: Indonesian classical music exists BECAUSE of our diversity. That's why it's so difficult to pinpoint how Indonesian classical music sounds, since an influence from a Sumatran ethnic music could be so different than one influenced by ethnic music of, say, Java or Bali. But in the end it is the composer's identity and particular character that produces music that is characteristically Indonesian. ............................................................................................................................................ Indonesia has started establishing its identity in classical music, and this is what our orchestra is presenting to you today. The orchestra consist of the best musicians from all over the country. The musicians come from the islands of Sulawesi, Sumatra and Java. First we all rehearsed in Jakarta and 3 days ago we all flew to Bali together and come to this forum. We hope you enjoy our performance, and thank you.

lunes, 24 de octubre de 2016

Foreword to Alicia's 6th Piano Book

Writing easy music is not easy. Well, we composers know that, so there are 2 types of us: the ones who avoid writing music which is easy to play, and the others who then delve into it, do the pedagogical researches and start trying to write it. I used to belong in the first club, but since I had my daughter Alicia studying piano, I joined the second club. But there is something more difficult than writing easy music, and that is writing easy AND GOOD music to be performed. Now, who could have imagined that I would keep on publishing Alicia's Piano Books when she is already a mathematics student at the University and not touching the piano at all? With this fact, Alicia's Piano Books are now simply a collection of any kind of short pieces. There are some new themes in this book that weren't in the other books. First is the piano imitating other instruments, or rather, exploring the character of other instruments. Therefore we have The Happy Bassoonist, The Nostalgic English-Hornist and The Mellow, stuck-in-the-past French Hornist which is also the 7th Love Song. This will serve two purposes: for young pianists to understand and to imagine the particular sound of the instrument, and as sketches for myself if I gotta write for the corresponding instrument in the future. A propos of Love Songs, I also decided to simply put numbers in them. In the previous Alicia's Books we had Falling in Love, When I See your Smile etc., which are basically Love Songs but with different titles. Since I am now too lazy to be fancy and being poetic and nostalgic, I will from now on put numbers and simply call them as they are, Love Songs. Just the musical notes are enough to make me feel mellow, let alone in thinking the exact situation that triggered the music! ............................................................................................................................................. Apart from a new "piece of cake" for 4 hands, there are also 2 sets of Variations, not as difficult as Rapsodia Nusantara, based on a children's songs. This would serve for a quite-but-not-so virtuosic piece for young pianists in their concerts. ............................................................................................................................................. About Variations on Kupu-kupu I wrote these following lines, kept in my computer and forgot to publish it in my blog: Now that the Foundation for Autistic Children commissioned me for a new piece based on a famous children song "Kupu-kupu" (by the very popular children songwriter, the late Ibu Sud), I gotta succeed in making a quite elaborate (I mean longer than the pieces in Alicia's Piano Books) showpiece but playable by intermediate pianists. And yeah, in the midst of orchestrating my opera Tumirah, I finished a Theme and 5 variations on it. I finished them just now, in a hotel in near the beautiful town of Arnuero. I am serving as the president of the jury for their International Chamber Music Competition this weekend. One thing which is nice about writing "not-so-difficult" pieces is that one doesn't need a piano to try everything, unlike writing the Rapsodias where I constantly had to go to the piano and check whether something is (not) playable by our poor over-exploited fingers. ............................................................................................................................................. Now that my friends in 5 cities are organizing a piano competition for young people, I regularly talk to them too about this. Especially Eveline Philips in Makassar who told me that in Alicia's Piano Books very easy piano pieces are lacking. I mean very, like, for real beginners, just a few months touching the keys. Anyway, it's been nice chatting with her while writing several very easy and short pieces. I don't always succeed, as I said about it's not easy writing easy pieces, but I got some for Alicia's 6th Piano Book. And yeah, it's a wonderful initiative those friends of mine have about this Piano Nusantara competition. The idea is each of them in their respective cities organize a competition, and then the winner of each city would be eligible to do the Grand Finale in Jakarta. And it's a very friendly one, unlike the Ananda Sukarlan Award, which is tough. The idea is to show the (very) young pianists that competitions are not meant to "kill" them. Everyone is a winner, they will receive comments from the judges, and they can prepare any kind of music they want. The 2 things they have to comply are: 1. They have to prepare 2 pieces, one by an Indonesian composer and the other by a classical international one, you know, Bach, Schumann and those guys. 2. The duration, which as usual there is a limit. You can check everything out at pianonusantara.wordpress.com . ............................................................................................................................................. The composer would like to thank Eveline Philips and her team at the Grazioso Music School in Makassar, South Sulawesi for her inputs and her gradings of each of the pieces. She is a pioneer of classical piano playing in the island of Sulawesi, and one of the very few first timers in the East of Indonesia. We all hope that she would serve as a catalyst for many more pianists and piano teachers in that region to bloom.