Artist-in-Residence will Enhance Grebel’s Global Music Program

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I Dewa Made Suparta Playing MusicConrad Grebel University College is pleased to welcome I Dewa Made Suparta as an Artist-in-Residence at the Music Department at the University of Waterloo. With specialties in Balinese gamelan music and composition, Dewa’s residency will increase the University of Waterloo’s reputation as a centre for Indonesian music in Southern Ontario, and strengthen the school’s global music program.

As artist-in-residence, Dewa will share his expertise as a musician, composer, and teacher with students and the community. Beginning this fall at Grebel, he will work with the World Music Ensemble: Balinese Gamelan as artistic director and has plans to initiate a new community gamelan ensemble that is open to all. In another new initiative at Grebel, Dewa will direct a Balinese chamber percussion ensemble called gender(gen’de(ə)r) and will offer private, semi-private, and group instruction for course credit or as an extra-curricular activity on the semara danainstruments in the Music program at Waterloo. Dewa will also collaborate with local artists, participate in Grebel and community events, and teach a new composition course called Bali, Community, and New Music Creations, that uses the gamelan as musical medium.

Born to a family of artists in Pengosekan, Bali, Indonesia, Dewa was immersed in the Balinese gamelan at an early age and began performing with the children’s group of his village at age 10. Dewa is a founding member of the internationally renowned group, Çudamani, one of Bali’s most innovative gamelan ensembles. Dewa  attained a S.Sen. from Institut Seni Indonesia (The Arts Institute of Indonesia).

Dewa has engaged in collaborations with international artists, and performed and given workshops worldwide. Since moving to Canada, Dewa has held the positions of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Music at l’Université de Montréal and Artistic Director of Gamelan Giri Kedaton, resident ensemble at UdM, and has been featured as a guest artist for numerous North American gamelan.

“The ultimate goal of a gamelan ensemble is to achieve a unified sound and feeling,” explained Dewa. “Tight coordination and a sense of community among players are necessary and cultivated by regularly rehearsing together. With this opportunity as artist-in-residence and artistic director of the gamelan, I will have regular contact with members which will strengthen community and enable new creative possibilities.” Over the past two years, Dewa has been invited as a guest artist to play with the gamelan at Grebel in concerts and at worship services. “I am also excited about this opportunity,” he continued, “because it affirms the overwhelming support and enthusiasm that students, Grebel, and the larger Mennonite community have for Balinese gamelan.”

Professor Laura Gray, Chair of the Music Department explained that “a dedicated position as Artist-in-Residence nicely brings together Dewa’s various threads of involvement under one umbrella. This incredible opportunity gives the Music Department flexibility to make the best use of Dewa’s expertise to Waterloo students, Grebel resident students, and the UW and K-W community.

Professor Gray is especially excited to welcome a new ensemble to the music department – a community gamelan – initiated and directed by Dewa. “With support from Grebel’s new strategic plan, the community gamelan has strong potential for community building through innovative and collaborative goals that engage our growing constituencies and elevate our distinctive programs. We look forward to engaging students who are not able to participate in the usual ensemble rehearsal time, to involving members of the community in a distinctive musical ensemble, and also to participating in local church worship services.”

A unique musical experience, open to the community, is planned for Peace Week this fall. Dewa will lead a kecak (vocal chant) workshop on September 23 at 12:30pm. Participants will work together to make music and create peace through a communal experience of chanting interlocking vocal rhythms from the island of Bali.

Founded in 1963 by Ontario Mennonites, Conrad Grebel University College is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The College’s mission is to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.

Grebel Gamelan Ensemble

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