Gamelan teaches you many transferable skills which are useful for any musician. Being able to play in an ensemble and your memory skills really develop if you come to Gamelan! It’s a great opportunity to learn something new whilst experiencing different rehearsal vibes to those of your typical Western Classical rehearsals.
Joe, student ensemble member
Gamelan music originated on the islands of Java and Bali, in Indonesia. It is played by an ensemble (also called a Gamelan) predominantly comprising bronze gongs and metallophones, with bamboo flutes, strings and other percussion. The University of York instruments - named ‘Sekar Petak’ (‘White Flower’) in honour of Yorkshire’s white rose symbol - was the first purpose-built Javanese gamelan in a British university. The instruments were first assembled and played in 1981, having been commissioned by the Department of Music's Dr Neil Sorrell from master craftsman Bapak Tentrem Sarwanto. On 22 November each year, the anniversary of the Gamelan is marked by an informal playing session at which it is presented with flowers and fruit. Below is an introduction to and taste of the soundworld of Gamelan.
Gamelan Sekar Petak is played regularly by an inter-departmental student group and a thriving youth ensemble. Gamelan also forms a key part of the University's community music programmes and the instruments are used regularly in outreach activity with local schools, youth groups and community partners. Gamelan Sekar Petak has toured extensively across the UK and has played internationally in Italy and Ireland, as well as making appearances on children's TV programmes for BBC and ITV. The ensemble gives an annual concert as part of the YorkConcerts series.