Visiting Artists

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I Ketut Gede Asnawa

I Ketut Gede

Visiting Professor of Musicology/Gamelan

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M.M. (ethnomusicology), University of Maryland – Baltimore County.

The composer, performer, and scholar I Ketut Gede Asnawa was born in 1955 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.  He has taught Balinese music at the Indonesian College of the Arts (STSI) and the High School of Performing Arts (KOKAR), both in Denpasar, since 1980.  His compositions have been featured at prestigious events such as the Festival of Young Composers in Jakarta and the annual Bali Arts Festival.  Recently, his talent as a cutting-edge composer and innovator in Balinese music was recognized in Grove Music Online.  A master gamelan musician, Asnawa has toured Europe, the United States, and Asia as a performer and has taught gamelan groups throughout North America and Europe.

From 1989 to 1991 he taught Gamelan Genta Pinara Pitu at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), at the same time earning a Master's degree in Ethnomusicology.  In 1993-1994 he was invited to lead a gamelan workshop at the Université de Montréal, Canada, along with leading an ensemble at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a private gamelan group, Gamelan Giri Mekar, in Woodstock, New York.  In 1997 he directed the gamelan group Sandi Sari in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  In the spring of 2000, he led a Gamelan Beleganjur ensemble at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  In the fall of 2001, he taught the private gamelan group Sekar Jaya, affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley.  From March 2003 through May 2006, he taught the innovative gamelan style Semara Dana as a visiting faculty member at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music, as well as directing Genta Kasturi, a newly formed gamelan group in Kansas City and giving gamelan workshops at Florida State University (FSU), Millikin University School of Music and Shenandoah University.

In Fall 2006 Asnawa returned to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a full-time visiting faculty member in the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music, where he teaches music for the Center’s many Balinese gamelans (Gamelan Semara Dana, Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Gamelan Angklung, Gamelan Beleganjur, Gamelan Suling, and Gender Wayang).  In 2007-2008 he directed a special project of the School of Music, called the East-West Ensemble, which prepared a program of traditional Balinese works, newly composed pieces in traditional style, and new compositions by University of Illinois composers for Balinese gamelan, some using gamelan only, some combining gamelan with electronic sounds, and some combining gamelan and jazz idioms and instrumentation.  After some nine months of intensive rehearsal, Asnawa led the East-West Ensemble to Bali in June 2008, where it performed at the Bali Arts Festival and for the City of Denpasar.  In November 2009 he led the University's Gamelan Eka Sruti Illini in a Showcase performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference (PASIC) in Indianapolis.  Since Fall 2009, Asnawa has taught Balinese gamelan in Champaign and Urbana public elementary schools as part of the Center's "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program.