Composer, instrument maker and gamelan expert Aloysius Suwardi presents his Planet Harmonik project for the first time outside his native Indonesia.
Bringing together a host of self-made instruments – from giant gambang xylophones to motorised metallophones and hydraulic water-filled bamboo flutes – Suwardi’s Planet Harmonik takes inspiration from the Pythagorean theory of musica universalis, or Music of the Spheres. The theory is that the proportional relationship between planets is equivalent to the relationship between musical notes – that the Sun, the Moon and Earth all emit their own tone. And like the planets, it’s a piece that moves with grace despite its complexity, rooted in the rich history of gamelan while also looking towards the future.
Aloysius Suwardi studied gamelan music at Kokar and Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia (AKSI) music conservatories in Surakarta. He completed his MA in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, USA in 1997 and has performed and taught at music festivals across the world.