Pitt Announces Collaboration with Indonesian College of Performing Arts

Issue Date: 
October 6, 2014

The University of Pittsburgh and the Indonesian College of Performing Arts in Bandung, West Java, will launch a partnership to further the two schools’ research and study in the fields of Indonesian music and culture.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed at Pitt on Oct. 10. To mark the new relationship, Pitt’s Department of Music will host for several days a delegation of 20 administrators, scholars, musicians, and dancers from West Java.

Several guests are expected to attend the private signing event, including Budi Bowoleksono, the Ambassador of Indonesia to the United States in Washington, D.C.; Hon. Ghafur Akbar Dharmaputra, Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York; Indonesian College of Performing Arts Director Een Herdiani, as well as eight of the school’s faculty members. A representative from Pittsburgh’s Office of the Mayor also will be in attendance.

The visiting performers will present a free public concert, “Music and Dance of West Java: The Past, Present, and Future of Sundanese Performing Arts,” at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 in Bellefield Hall Auditorium.

The group also will conduct private workshops for Pitt students who are taking courses in world music and gamelan, a musical ensemble that students may participate in for credit through the Department of Music. Gamelan is a large orchestra that includes tuned gongs, metal-keyed instruments, and drums. Pitt’s Department of Music owns two gamelan sets, and the University Gamelan Ensemble holds a major concert every year that includes guest performers from Indonesia.

Department of Music Chair Andrew Weintraub, who himself has collaborated on projects with the Indonesian College for 30 years, says the partnership will bring about an exchange of students and creative artists and will enhance the exploration and understanding of Sundanese culture and performing arts, a core strength of Pitt’s ethnomusicology program.

“Stronger relationships lead to better understanding of cultural diversity, he said. “A formal agreement between Pitt and the Indonesian College will facilitate better communication between the two schools. Our goal is to generate collaborative research projects, a student exchange at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and, eventually, the development of a Pitt in Indonesia study abroad program.”

Prior to their visit to the Pitt campus, the group of scholars and musicians will visit Washington, D.C., where some will perform and participate in a mini-symposium at the Smithsonian Institution.

The celebration marking the memorandum signing is sponsored by the Department of Music, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Pitt’s Asian Studies Center, the Indonesian government, and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Washington, D.C.