Editor's note: This show has been postponed to March 26.
PUTNEY — When Emeric Viani, an elementary school teacher in Andover, Mass., first heard a Balinese gamelan, he was “immediately transfixed by the instruments, the patterns, the melodies, and how the music was so unlike anything else I had experienced to that point.”
At the time, 2004, he was attending the Eastman School of Music. He joined the school’s gamelan ensemble as soon as he could.
Now, he has been performing with the gamelan ensemble Galak Tika for nine years, and hopes to similarly reach listeners.
“I hope that audiences walk away with a sense of curiosity and excitement to learn more about this beautiful art form that we’ve all fallen in love with at various points,” he said. “When I think about somebody else having that same ‘spark’ that we all had at one point, I get really excited. Knowing that we’re always in a position to do that for somebody when we perform is really special.”
Galak Tika will perform at Next Stage Arts, 15 Kimball Hill, at 7:30 p.m. March 26 under the direction of Gusti Komin, hailed as a leading composer, performer and teacher of Balinese music of his generation. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door. Komin and other members of the group recently responded to questions via email.
The gamelan, according to a provided description, is a word for the large percussion orchestras of Java and Bali in Indonesia. It consists of gongs, metallophones and hand drums, with cymbals, vocals and bamboo flutes used as well. Komin, from Pengosekan, Bali, started playing as a child, taking instruction from his father from the age of 9.
“Gamelan is not just about musical performance in Bali. Its music is a part of our culture and a part of our lives. All of our important life events are accompanied by gamelan music whether they happen in our homes, our temples, our schools, at public events. It is a part of our happiness, my happiness,” Komin said.
For Komin, this is his first time performing in Vermont, but he said he has a 96-year-old friend who was born in Poultney, and he looks forward to seeing for the first time “what I’ve heard is such a beautiful state.”
Galak Tika member Evan Ziporyn said Balinese gamelan is a good way to usher everyone back into the joys coming together for live music — and sharing a focus. He said Balinese gamelan requires an extraordinary amount of connectedness among the players and accompanying dancers.
“It requires enormous concentration for the players but it creates a sense of connection unlike almost any other music I know,” Ziporyn said. “It comes from an incredibly rich tradition that a single performance only scratches the surface of. So our hope is always just to give audiences a sense of that tradition, of the depth and feeling in the music and dance.”
Tickets and more information are available at nextstagearts.org.