The Flinders University Pendopo, in its peaceful Australian bush setting, was gifted to Flinders University students and staff in 1990 by Anton and Kadar Lucas. The building, and the Sekar Laras gamelan instruments it houses, are a tangible symbol of the meeting between Australian and Indonesian people and cultures that has been nurtured and promoted at Flinders since 1978. The Pendopo is a focal point for the study of Indonesia at Flinders. It is a place of hospitality where public concerts take place each year, Indonesian dignitaries are welcomed, post-graduate students meet, and a variety of music and dance ensembles rehearse. It doubles sometimes as a studio for artists in residence, is used for small tutorials and language classes and has even been the venue for an international student wedding! The Flinders University Pendopo is often said to be the most beautiful Pendopo outside of Java.
Gamelan has been taught at Flinders University since 1986, by a succession of accomplished Adelaide-based musicians that has included Robert Lloyd, the late Heather Stark, Kate Hancock, Guy Tunstill, David Kotlowy, Deetje Tunstill, Hannah Tunstill, Emily Rustanto and Julian Tunstill. Tertiary students from Adelaide universities take the “Indonesian Musical Cultures” (INDO 2002) topic; primary and secondary school students come in their hundreds each year to take short workshops. All experience the unique ambience of the Flinders University Pendopo, and the satisfaction of learning to play simple gamelan pieces together. The teaching and learning of gamelan at Flinders University has provided unique educational, cultural and musical experiences to thousands of South Australian players and audiences, helping to build strong relations between Australians and Indonesians.
Adelaide’s premier community gamelan group had its origins in the early 1980s during a time of growing interest on tertiary education campuses for Indonesian music studies. In 1984 these developments coalesced into a new course in Indonesian music offered by the Flinders University of South Australia, which was unique at the time for Indonesian studies in Australia.
In that same year Flinders University received its first gamelan, a set of bronze sléndro-tuned instruments specially made for it in Surakarta. This set was used in the University’s production of Under Southern Eyes for the 1988 Adelaide Festival, with gamelan music written for it by Australian composer Robert Lloyd—the first major commission for new music for gamelan to be performed in an Australian festival.
Augmented by a companion set in the pélog tuning, in 1991 the complete set was permanently housed in the University’s new Pendopo (Javanese-style pavilion), which also serves as a teaching and performance venue. The name Gamelan Sekar Laras, ‘Gamelan of the Blossoming Harmonies’ was bestowed by visiting Javanese maestro Poedijono in the same year.
Gamelan Sekar Laras has given performances at WOMADelaide (1995, 1997, 2003), and was invited to accompany the Indonesian dance-drama troupe Sekar Budaya Nusantara at WOMADelaide 2006. Since 2003 Sekar Laras has staged numerous performances of traditional and modern shadow puppetry and related theatre, led by invited guests from interstate and overseas such as Joko Susilo, Aji Prasetya Wibawa, Tendri Yusuf, Soegito, Heri Dono, Jumaadi; and most recently Anon Suneko and Asteria Swastiastuti for 2015 OzAsia Festival.
The group is keen to foster a love of gamelan music and playing in the community and supports a successful school-outreach program in which groups of school children visit the Pendopo to develop some basic skills and knowledge. Sekar Laras is always looking for new members, so if you are interested in gamelan and would like to try your hand at playing just come to any rehearsal at the Pendopo. These are held weekly, every Wednesday evening during school terms. There is no joining fee and no prior experience is needed, so just come along!
End of Semester Concert Program 2015.pdf (PDF 92KB)
End of Semester Concert Flyer 2015.pdf (PDF 8MB)
End of Semester Concert Program 2014.pdf (PDF 136KB)
Pendopo lyrics in seven languages 2014.pdf (PDF 90KB)
End of Semester Concert Program 2013.pdf (PDF 163KB)
End of Semester Concert Flyer 2013.pdf (PDF 797KB)
Autumn Concert Program 2013.pdf (PDF 444KB)
Pendopo Celebration Program 2012.pdf (PDF 132KB)
Pendopo Celebration 2012.pdf (PDF 637KB)
Autumn Concert Program Bima Bungkus 2012.pdf (PDF 145KB)
End of Semester Concert Program 2011.pdf (PDF 76KB)
End of Semester Concert Flyer 2011.pdf (PDF 335KB)
Museum of Memory Program 2010.pdf (PDF 3MB)
Museum of Memory Closing Night 2010.pdf (PDF 287KB)
Who's that on the east wall of SSN.pdf (PDF 36KB)