martes, 23 de septiembre de 2008

How to introduce Indonesian classical music when we do NOT want it to be introduced

I was interviewed by several magazines in Indonesia due to the Indonesian Independence Day last August and I had to say that the one thing we lack now is patriotism. But I don't wanna talk about politics, nor social issues. I just wanna relate it to the field I am working with, classical music. A few months ago I wrote about Indonesian public's "high" taste for foreign musicians. Now, let's talk about our own musicians. How many Indonesian classical musicians like, love or even just feel the obbligation to perform music by Indonesian composers ? Just check out the concert programs in Jakarta, and it's all filled up with Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, up to Copland, Rutter, Britten. Great music, of course, but where are our own composers ? Why aren't they played by their own musicians ? Is it because Indonesian composers are not "prestigious" enough and so we can't be proud of them ? Not cool, not hip ? Not virtuosic ? Not attractive ? Or simply not good (according to whose criteria?) ?

Let's compare it to 100 years ago, where Indonesians wanted to be independent. They would even die for their country. Is it the case now ? I am not the one who should answer it.

Back to classical music, obviously our musicians do not care (or are we ashamed ?) of our own composers. Government ? Ministry of Culture ? Forget them, they are busy with other things. So, what to do to enliven the creation of classical music in our country, if nobody wants to play it ?

An easy(-er) solution, small but by no means meaningless, would be to ask foreign musicians to play it, or at least we should trust our national treasure to them . Let them listen, let them check some scores. This can be done perhaps by approaching the foreign cultural centers in Jakarta. Everytime they invite foreign artists, why not at least send them some scores of Indonesian composers ? Perhaps by letting them play music by Indonesian composers during their visit to Indonesia would touch the conscience of our own musicians ?