Gamelan Alligator Joy: New Works for Gamelan. June 6, 7p.m.

Gamelan Alligator Joy: New Works for Gamelan. June 6, 7p.m.
Friday, June 6, 2014, 7:00 pm

Genre: New music
Admission: $15 general, $10 students/seniors/members
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Victoria — On Friday, June 6, 2014, at 7:00 p.m., Gamelan Alligator Joy will present a concert of new works for gamelan at Open Space.
Gamelan Alligator Joy, the chamber ensemble incarnation of Gamelan Madu Sari, returns after a one-year hiatus with a varied new program of works, “Branching Out, Branching In,” composed by four members of the group and well-known guest composers John Oliver and Jon Siddall.
Gamelan Alligator Joy (named after the supposedly gun-running freighter that hauled it over from Indonesia) came to Vancouver 24 years ago. Since then they have performed many new, as well as traditional, pieces. This concert is special in that it is the first time they asked composers from outside the group to write new pieces for them. The whole program will illustrate the wide range of sounds, forms, and feelings that an ongoing creative engagement with the wonderful instruments of Javanese gamelan can lead to.
Jon Siddall is a vastly experienced gamelan person: he co-founded Toronto’s Evergreen Club in the early ’80s and for many years has taught Sundanese gamelan degung at VCC and led their student ensemble, Gamelan Si Pawit. His modular, partly improvised piece “The Gabriola Tidepools” aims to evoke in music the half-hidden life-rhythms of a typical BC shoreline environment.
John Oliver is prominent in many areas of contemporary composition and performance, including works created for the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. In fact, his piece “Balonmix” is a reworking of a composition originally created for VICO, inspired by Balinese gamelan music but not intended to be performed on gamelan instruments. Bringing it home has been an intriguing process.
Gamelan Alligator Joy’s own composer-performers continue to mine their unique stylistic approaches with fascinating results. Mark Parlett’s “Dice Over Easy” investigates the idea of musical option through an ever-evolving notion of surprise, as performers constantly make small choices based on fixed figures. Incorporating cello and reworking and altering the instruments and traditional scales, he evokes a state of dark melancholia.
Andreas Kahre’s “Let N = N” is a cheerfully quirky work that dispenses entirely with mallets and beaters, using fingertips and nails on keys instead. We think the Laurie Anderson reference is somehow connected with this unusual performative aspect and with the subjective experience of time as a mysterious unity rather than discrete, infinitely subdividing moments…
With “96 Tiers,” Sam Salmon has created another of his process pieces referencing the minimalists, one of his great loves in music.
And Michael O’Neill, known for his compositions for Balinese and Sundanese gamelan, as well as Javanese ensembles, is developing a new medium-length performance work for gamelan and Western puppet, “Ventriloquial Investigations,” which will premiere in early 2015. They will be previewing most of the music for it at this event.
Gamelan Alligator Joy is also touring this program to Vancouver (Western Front, June 20) and Gabriola (June 7 and 8).