Sumarsam illustraion

Wesleyan Chamber Gamelan Concert and Celebration for Sumarsam’s Forthcoming Book History and Myth, Interculturalism and Interreligiosity:   The In-Between in Javanese Performing Arts

Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 1:00pm
Smith Reading Room, Olin Library, 252 Church Street, Middletown, CT


Click here to view photos from this event on flickr.

Wesleyan University’s World Music Archives and Music Department present a Wesleyan Chamber Gamelan mini-concert in celebration of Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Sumarsam’s forthcoming book, published by Wesleyan University Press, History and Myth, Interculturalism and Interreligiosity: The In-Between in Javanese Performing Arts. This hour-long event includes the concert, featuring guest singer Heni Savitri, and a presentation by Sumarsam entitled “History and Mythology in Javanese Performing Arts,” followed by a reception.

“This forthcoming study to be published by Wesleyan University Press represents my lifelong journey to master complicated, profound, and changing Javanese performing art/ritual/entertainment through understanding its multiple variations from Hinduization and Islamization to Westernization: from court and village entertainment-cum-ritual to palace esthetic/proof of cultural competency, from coastal mercantile entrepots to central Javanese wet rice terraces, and from colonial plantation and textile factory culture to contemporary industrial estates and creative economy efforts.” —Sumarsam

In addition to the forthcoming book from Wesleyan University Press, this event will also celebrate two more new works from Sumarsam: his recent open access publication Introduction, Theory, and Analysis: Javanese Gamelan; and his “Liner Notes and Translation of Langendriyan’s libretto ‘The Death of Ménakjinggå’: 78-rpm recordings. Columbia, 1931 and 1932” (forthcoming, in collaboration with Philip Yampolsky). There will be a small exhibition highlighting Sumarsam’s publications and research, the history of the gamelan program at Wesleyan, and field and concert gamelan recordings from the World Music Archives collection. For more information, email

 Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Sumarsam has been teaching at Wesleyan since 1972. His research on the history, theory, and performance practice of gamelan and wayang, and on Indonesia-Western encounters has resulted in numerous articles and two books: Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java (1995) and Javanese Gamelan and the West (2013). He is a master gamelan musician and also a keen amateur dhalang (puppeteer) for wayang kulit shadow puppet plays. He holds a BA degree from Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia, MA from Wesleyan, and PhD from Cornell. 

Illustration of Sumarsam by Patrick Norton.