Java Comes to Buffalo - An Intimate Evening of Culture

June 10, 2022 @ 6:30PM — 11:30PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) Add to Calendar

Nusantarta Arts Performing Arts Center @ St. Johns Grace Episcopal Church: 51 Colonial Circle Lafayette entrance Buffalo, NY 14222 Get Directions

Java Comes to Buffalo - An Intimate Evening of Culture image

Java Comes to Buffalo - An Intimate Evening of Culture

Peek behind the curtain; get up close and personal with Nusantara Arts. Join us for an unprecedented and exclusive evening featuring 5 genius guest artists from Java who will all serendipitously be in the same place at the same time, here in Buffalo.

Nusantara Arts presents an evening "klenengan" gamelan music gathering where musicians play the most detailed and fine pieces of gamelan music in a relaxed setting. The klenengan will be preceded by a meet-and-greet with our guest artists as well as a music talk and short q&a with our executive director Matt Dunning. Beverages, tea and home made Indonesian snacks will be available throughout the evening.

Stay as long or as little as you like, klenengan are gatherings of musicians playing gamelan music for their own enjoyment. While an audience is not necessary for a klenengan to occur, we are opening up this event to an exclusive audience to get to know Nusantara Arts better and enjoy the best of what Javanese gamelan music and culture have to offer. On Java the music starts at 8pm and goes till 2 am but we don't expect anyone to stay that long! Join us for however much time you would like, and simply enjoy your relaxing evening in our space.


  • Meet and greet - 6:30-7:30
  • Gamelan music klenengan 7:30-9:00
  • Break: 9:00-9:30
  • Gamelan music klenengan continues 9:30-12:00

Traditional Snacks:

  • Onde onde - sesame balls filled with mung bean
  • Pisang goreng - fried sweet bananas
  • Kacang rebus - boiled peanuts
  • Martabak telur - Savory Javanese egg and meat crepe/pancake

Guest Artists Bios

Wakidi Dwidjomartono was born in 1947 in Jagalan, Solo, Central Java. Although his parents and grandparents were not gamelan musicians, he was deeply inspired at a very young age by both his brother, the renowned Bapak Wakidjo Warsapangrawit, and the active musical neighborhood he grew up in. Pak Wakidi’s career has taken him from an early start in the Javanese classical dance world, to wayang orang, wayang kulit, and klenèngan. Many observers in and out of Indonesia agree that he is currently the top classical Solonese drummer practicing the art form.

Midiyanto is a renowned Javanese musician and dhalang (puppet master). Born in Wonogiri, a rural district in the southern part of Central Java, Midiyanto comes from a family of many generations of gamelan musicians and puppeteers. He attended the Sekolah Menegah Karawitan Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) and Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia, now known as Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) in Surakarta before going abroad to teach and perform. Over the last 30 years Midiyanto has taught and performed extensively in Indonesia, the U.S., Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. He has been featured in several documentary films and directed the gamelan for the Shadow Music of Java CD recorded at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. during a two-month residency in 1991. Currently Ki Midiyanto, teaches and performs as Lecturer and Co-Director of Gamelan Sari Raras at University of California, Berkeley, and as a guest artist and instructor throughout the U.S., Indonesia, and internationally.

Heni Savitri began to study sindhènan (Javanese singing with gamelan) in 2002. In 2003 she won the competition for best singer in her native district of Wonogiri, Central Java. She entered the Performing Arts Conservatory in Surakarta in 2004, and began representing the institution in competitions the following year as well as performing in shadow plays. Upon enrolling in the Indonesian Arts Academy in Surakarta she was selected as the singer for many recordings of new faculty compositions and traditional works, representing the academy in the 2008 international vocal competition in Jakarta.

Heri Purwanto is a highly respected teacher, performer, and master musician of Javanese gamelan. He comes from a family of musicians in Wonogiri, Central Java. He graduated from Institut Seni Indonesia in Surakarta, Central Java at the top of his class in 2000. Heri has taught gamelan in Buffalo, NY, at the University of California-Berkeley, University of Washington, and Earlham college where he was in residence on a Fulbright award. In Indonesia Heri continues his work as an artist, building and running an arts studio in his community as well as performing as a musician throughout Indonesia, as well as in Singapore, Thailand, China.

Kitsie Emerson has a PhD in Javanese Wayang Studies (Leiden University, 2016), is the co-author (with Ki Purbo Asmoro) of a seven-volume study of stylistic concepts in Wayang, and has been studying and performing Javanese gamelan instruments since the early 1990s. She has a graduate-level certificate in pedagogy, and has been a gamelan teacher of almost all ages for over twenty years in a variety of settings. She has organized Wayang tours to the USA (2006, 2009, 2012, 2013), Singapore, India, and Bolivia and co-organized Wayang tours to France (2009, 2013) and the UK. She developed the technique of simultaneous translation/interpretation of Wayang in 2005, and to this day is the sole practitioner of this method. Kitsie lives in Klodran outside Solo, managing Griya Seni Ekalaya a center for the study of Javanese gamelan, wayang, and dance.

About Nusantara Arts

Nusantara Arts, Inc. (NAI) is an organization that shares Indonesian music, art, culture, and traditional learning methods with Buffalo and beyond. Gamelan is a traditional Indonesian instrument group often referred to as a gong orchestra, and is one of the oldest continuously played instrumental music traditions in the world. The instruments are bronze and wood, and are played by a group of up to 20 musicians. The music of gamelan inherently promotes community, inclusion, diversity, and artistic excellence. NAI is a unique asset as the East Coast’s only free-standing 501c3 organization committed to the music of the Indonesian archipelago. As such, NAI is a unique contributor to the arts dialogue of Buffalo. Because of its unduplicated role in bringing Indonesian music to the United States, the organization has the potential to make Buffalo a regional hub for the music of Indonesia and its unique performance types and instruments.

Most gamelan groups in the United States are sponsored by major universities with large budgets, but NAI is uniquely an independent entity. Like music groups in Indonesia, NAI prides itself on being a community arts organization. In our short existence, we have grown exponentially due to the passion and dedication of our members and donors. NAI provides high-level arts performances with a preservation focus, coordinating with guest artists from around the world. We keep a local community focus, offering music classes, school instruction, online learning, and community engagement opportunities while remaining true to our Indonesian inspiration.

NAI’s programs include gamelan performance and education, dance, and wayang kulit shadow puppetry. Hundreds of students have been taught. Around 15 performances are conducted each year in diverse settings including major performances at Kleinhans, Asbury hall, ArtPark and the Buffalo Museum of Science. Most of our performances are free or sliding scale with a focus on accessibility in the community. NAI has started to receive worldwide recognition from scholars and gamelan master musicians for our community and cultural preservation activities.

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