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.