I spent a most memorable afternoon today at Saung Angklung Udjo in Bandung. It's a center for the making and learning the traditional instrument called angklung, made of bamboo. The reason I was there is because ITB Choir has commissioned me to write quite a big (they use the term "monumental"-- I hope I can realize it!) piece for choir and (western) orchestra and an ensemble of angklung, which will be the first piece in the world written for that formation. This piece is meant to mark the inauguration of their ITB International Choral Festival and Competition, where I am also honoured to be invited to serve as a jury member.
I left Saung Udjo with a strange feeling : a mix of enlightenment, happiness and peace (yeah, the place gave you that feeling, especially we watched the sunset in that wondrous, heavenly place) but also full of doubt of what piece would come out of my brain (which sometimes doesn't collaborate happily with me). One thing for sure is that I am not going to change my musical style, and as I always say, I write what I feel I should write. The inauguration will be televised, and attended by thousands of people from all over the (choral) world. Bandung will be the center of choral music during that week starting from end of July 2010. The concert of my piece itself will be on the 29th of July 2010.
I don't have to worry about it for now. I have another mammoth coming very shortly : in about 10 days my second cantata "LIBERTAS", this time reorchestrated and will be performed by more than 100 musicians will be the main course of the Jakarta New Year Concert on the 3rd of January 2010. Plus my new collaborative work with Chendra Panatan : a choreographic work on the tsunami, called "Bibirku Bersujud di Bibirmu". The music and the choreography turn out to be quite complex (no, not only a cascade of running notes depicting tsunami: it has a love theme, tsunami theme, and then a vocal part sung by Aning Katamsi, based on a poem of the same title by Hasan Aspahani). So, I'll concentrate on that for now. My great friends (and great artists!0 are joining me for this, and I also have the greatest luck to meet new friends with no less talents, such as the 15-year-young violinist prodigy Inez Raharjo and the singers of Paragita from Universitas Indonesia (yeah, they were the ones who commissioned me my "Choral Fantasy", if you remember, but this is the first time that I had the pleasure to work with them. They are F-A(U)-N-T-A-S-T-I-C !
Next week will be a week of basically rehearsing and rehearsing with different people, before we have all the musicians and dancers coming together for the general rehearsal the day before the concert. As you can imagine, New Year for me doesn't mean champagne and big lobsters, since 5 years ago when we did the Jakarta New Year Concert for the first time. Many rains has fallen since then, and it has now grown into a full-blown celebrational event and a trademark for the first Sunday of the year in Indonesia's capital city. Thanks to all of you who've supported us these 5 years!
Happy New Year, and Happy New Ears for Classical Music ! Now, who said that classical music is dying??