Balinese gamelan music has been known around the world for its enthralling sounds, influence on genres of music like classical and jazz, and its fascinating origins in the colorful culture-rich island of Bali, Indonesia. Come this fall, Chicago will play host to a new gamelan and Balinese dance ensemble consisting of gongs, bronze metallophones, drums and bamboo flutes.
At High Concept Labs, Chicago Balinese Gamelan’s 15-member ensemble will take their course with weekly rehearsals devoted to learning gamelan music, an intro to gamelan workshop open to the public and ensemble masterclasses with esteemed Balinese gamelan musician and composer, Pak Asnawa Tutde. Led by Claire Fassnacht, these rehearsals will paramount to a public performance showcasing the exciting music as well as traditional costumed dances. In addition to live workshops and performance, the public can also experience the gamelan through online concert videos and behind-the-scenes videos in the practice space.
At the core of gamelan music is the cultivation of community and empowering a love of music, knowledge, exploration and cultural understanding. With the support of High Concept Labs, Chicago Balinese Gamelan will instill those values with the Chicago community and awaken the city’s next wave of enthusiasm for this historic music.
Claire Fassnacht is a musician, dancer, and educator from Chicago, IL. She began her gamelan studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI seven years ago while studying percussion performance. Since then, she spent a year and half living in Bali, Indonesia as a Darmasiswa fellow, studying traditional Balinese gamelan music and dance. She has performed as a musician with several reputable gamelan ensembles in the U.S. and Bali. In 2015 she directed chamber group Gamelan Cita Suara to perform at The Morton Arboretum’s Destination Asia music festival. For the past two years, Claire was musician and Dance Coordinator with MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika in Boston, MA. In addition to her Balinese gamelan training, Claire studies and performs Javanese gamelan and dance. Claire holds a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Boston University.