performance of contemporary music for Balinese Gender Wayang ensemble performed and with new music-theatre by Zachàr Laskewicz and Made Agus Wardana

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Friday 27 June 1997



(motional gender)

The "gender wayang" is the smallest gamelan.  It consists of two or four instruments and is sometimes extended by adopting Balinese drums and flutes (kendang and suling respectively).  It is often seen as the most difficult playing technique to learn.  This orchestra is most commonly used to accompany the Balinese shadow-play (known as wayang kulit), although it can be used for other non-religious purposes.  At every temple festival one can hear the sounds of the gender wayang because its scale is considered by the Balinese to be the holiest.  It is most often used to welcome gods.

The name of the concert is 'sesolahan gender' which can be literally translated as 'moving gender'.  The name refers to the highly sensual and physical nature of Balinese performance: it is impossible to ignore the loud sounds and the dramatic movements characteristic of the Balinese musical aesthetic.  In new works by Laskewicz and Wardana, this motional aspect is emphasized.


traditional works from the gender wayang repertoire

Kekawitan Sidakarya

(for 2 genders and flute; this composition is primarily used to introduce a performance)

Pakang Raras

(for 2 genders and flute; this composition is primarily used for the 'tooth-filing' ceremony)


(for 3 flutes; the title can be translated as 'children's song' )


(for 2 genders and flute; this composition is primarily used in the wayang kulit repertoire when two characters are in love)

Sekar Teman

(for 2 genders and flute; the title can be translated as 'flower garden' although it virtuosic expression of Balinese musicality)


new works

Motional Kotekan

(for 2 genders and motional flute player; this work is influenced by the way in which Balinese dancers can influence the structure of the music through their movements.  In this composition it is the flute player who controls the movements.  'Kotekan' refers to a specific Balinese rhythmic/melodic structure where a single melody is formed thanks to the combination of two other melodies, in this case played by the two genders.)



(This work for solo percussion is influenced by Indian and Balinese rhythms.  The 'k' in the title refers to the different Balinese and Indian traditions, including 'karnataka' [a region in South-India] and 'kendang' [Balinese drum]).



(for marimba, vibraphone and kendang;  this is a work composed in the Semar Pegulingan-style of the royal courts.  In this type of composition the Ugal generally takes the core melody.  The ugal is a metallophone.  In playing this instrument typical Balinese damping techniques are made use of: one hand dampens the tone which has just been played at precisely the same moment the current tone is struck.  In the second part of the work two kendang are played.  The kendang is a cylinder-shaped drum which can be played on both ends.  This instrument determines the tempo and new rhythmic patterns played by the orchestra, forming as it were the heartbeat of the composition.)



(For two Balinese genders, voice, flute and dance.  The solo dancer loses himself in the ritual.  The title 'Sembah' refers to the type of performance which mixes music, singing and dance for religious purposes.



I Made Agus Wardana was born in 1971 in Denpasar, Bali.  From his fifth birthday he began to learn music from his parents and grandparents.  He later completed his musical studies at the academy, and has won a large number of prizes at gamelan festivals in Bali.  He won first place at a the major arts festival in Denpasar in 1994, the most prestigious event on Bali.  This composition heralded in Wardana's international career.  At the end of his studies he was offered a position as one of the cultural staff at the Indonesian embassy in Brussels by I Made Bandem, then the director of the STSI.

Zachar Laskewicz was born in Western Australia in 1971.  as a child he showed a great interest in theatre and music, and he has since received a bachelor degree in theatre and drama studies and a first license in experimental composition at the Royal Conservatory of GhentZachar's primary area of interest is experimental music-theatre and multimedia performance where the working tools of the composer include theatrical elements: language, movement and staging.  Concerts of his music-theatre compositions have been presented in Perth, Moscow, Antwerp, Brussels, Helsinki and Vilnius.  His interest in Indonesian and Indian music is based on his conception of 'total-music'.  In this context 'a musical culture in itself' is non-existent in Indonesian culture because gamelan performance forms a regular part of daily life in the form of ritual, dance, theatre and puppet-play.  Zachar has recently received a grant to write his PhD and will be heading this Summer to Indonesia to do field-work research

Gabriel Laufer (born in 1969) studied percussion, chamber music and music history at the Brussels Conservatory (where he received a higher degree in 1997) and Rotterdam. He has played various orchestras including that of 'la monnaie', the Gdansk chamber music  orchestra, the RTBF orchestra, the Flemish Opera, La Petite Bande, Champe D'Action etc. . .



   Zachar Laskewicz : gender, suling, flute and dance

I Made Agus Wardana : gender, suling, kendang, percussion and movement

Gabriel Laufer : gender, suling, percussion