Gamelan Director Honored for Contributions

Made Lasmawan
Made Lasmawan

I Made Lasmawan, the artistic director of the CC Balinese Gamelan orchestra, was recently featured in American Gamelan and the Ethnomusicological Imagination, which he says highlights what it means to devote one’s life to world music ensemble education.

A native of Bali, Lasmawan studied and received his degree in Indonesian traditional Gamelan music from conservatories in both Bali and Java, and taught for several years in Java before coming to the United States in 1990. Gamelan, a traditional music ensemble in Indonesia, is composed of mostly percussive instruments. Most common are tuned gongs, various types of metal-keyed instruments, bamboo flutes, xylophone, and occasionally stringed instruments.

Now in his 29th year at CC, Lasmawan is considered one of the foremost experts in both Gamelan performance and Indonesian music; he has been aiding the Indonesian consulate, acting as an ambassador to bring his knowledge of music and Indonesia into an American space. Not only has Lasmawan performed Balinese music throughout the U.S., Indonesia, and Asia, but he has also presented his original research on Balinese music at the Society for Ethnomusicology and the International Council for Traditional Music. Lasmawan brings his love for Indonesia, his love for music, and his love for teaching into his work at CC and elsewhere.

Lasmawan regularly travels to different colleges across the country teaching Gamelan and establishing ensembles, leaving the colleges with well-trained educators who can start Gamelan programs of their own. He’s started programs at the University of Colorado Boulder, Metropolitan State University Denver, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Emory University, University of Miami Ohio, and more.

“I love bringing Gamelan to students,” he says. “I love sharing my love for the ensemble with students who have never encountered it before.”

Lasmawan’s goal is to bring Gamelan to the Rocky Mountain region in particular, and he’s looking forward to the Rocky Mountain Region Gamelan Festival in Denver in April 2022. The festival will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will feature an academic symposium, “Moving Mountains: Sustainability and Balinese Arts,” with Lasmawan as a keynote speaker.

Lasmawan’s wife Ni Ketut Marni who joined CC in 1997 and who is a renowned Balinese dancer, choreographer, and teacher, performs regularly with Lasmawan, co-teaches adjuncts and classes, and is equally loved by her students. “Part of their success at CC is the community they make,” says Professor Emerita of Music Victoria Levine, who taught ethnomusicology and helped import the first two Gamelan ensembles to CC.

In Summer 2022, Lasmawan and the Music Department will bring back a well-known and well-loved Gamelan program: the summer Bali Gamelan program, where CC students travel to Indonesia to both learn and perform Gamelan as well as engage in an anthropogenic study of Indonesian culture. CC Gamelan students have performed during this program in the past for various temple ceremonies in Bali, as well as Bali TV — two famous and exciting opportunities for those in the orchestral world of Gamelan. This summer program has put Colorado College’s Gamelan ensemble on the map. This will be the first summer the program resumes since COVID-19, and both Lasmawan and the students are incredibly excited.

Lasmawan teaches both classes and adjuncts on Gamelan ensembles. Throughout the year CC students can take his Balinese Gamelan adjuncts (Blocks 1-4 and 5-8), Topics in Asian Literature and Culture: Music in Culture: Indonesia (Block 4), Ethnomusicology: Performing Hindu Epics (Block 6), and Ethnomusicology: Music and Dance in Bali (Block 8).

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/21/2022