The term gamelan refers to certain types of orchestra from Indonesia. Most gamelan ensembles are largely made up of tuned percussion instruments. The Hallé's set is typical of those found in Java, and includes gongs and metallophones of various shapes and sizes, as well as xylophones, drums, bamboo flutes and a two-stringed fiddle. Manufactured by Suhirdjan, a respected gong-smith from the city of Yogyakarta, the Hallé gamelan is named Ruming Laras (Fragrant Harmony).
Gamelan is a versatile educational resource and an accessible way of experiencing the music of a non-Western culture at first hand. Up to twenty players can be accommodated at any one time and the variety of instruments available and aural method of working mean that material can be adapted to suit participants of all ages and abilities. In addition, the gamelan's traditional role as accompaniment for dance and theatre leads naturally into creative cross-arts projects.
There are a number of ways in which individuals and groups can access the Hallé gamelan:
School or community groups can access the Hallé gamelan through one-off workshops at a venue in Hulme, which is less than a seven-minute drive from The Bridgewater Hall. Content of sessions can be adapted to suit individual group needs but the majority of sessions are generally taster sessions to teach traditional playing techniques and repertoire. Workshops normally last two hours and are limited to a maximum of 20 participants per session.
Please note, these sessions are only available to groups. Events allowing individuals to access the Hallé gamelan will be made available in due course.
It is possible to arrange for the gamelan to come to your school or organisation for a longer period of time, usually from a couple of days to a week. This enables a larger number of participants to access the instruments and opens up the possibility of developing more in-depth work with specific groups over a number of sessions.
University of Manchester
Hallé Education currently runs a gamelan course for second-year undergraduate music students at the University of Manchester. The course culminates with an annual lunchtime concert in the University’s Cosmo Rodewald Hall. This year’s lunchtime concert took place on Thursday 26 April 2012 at which many family and friends joined members of the public to show their support.
Further information on the Hallé’s gamelan programme can be obtained by contacting Laura McPheely or Steve Pickett.