Open Forum

The Internationalization of Indonesian Arts & Gamelan in the U.S. and Other Countries

Location and information:

Open Forum on:  Thursday, September 7, 2017:09:30 - 11:30 am; (Registration starts at 9:00)


Ruang Recital, Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ)
Gedung Musik Lt. 4, Fakultas Seni Pertunjukan
Kompleks Taman Ismail Marzuki No. 73
Jalan Cikini Raya, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
(IKJ Campus and room entrance is located
on the narrow road left side of the XXI CinePlex TIM)


The Internationalization of Indonesian Arts & Gamelan in the U.S. and Other Countries

Globalization brought forth many opportunities for Indonesia, including the unanticipated prospect of cultural influence abroad through performance arts. The internationalization of Indonesian arts, either musical instruments, dance and visual arts, have been well-accepted by many countries including in the U.S.

For musical instruments, the gamelan specifically, there are close to two hundred sets of the instruments in the United States as of 2017, many of which maintain consistent performing groups. Furthermore, gamelan and its related arts now enjoy healthy affinity groups around the world, in places such Australia, the British Isles, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand, to name a few. As gamelan has traveled to different parts of the world, it simultaneously carries with it parts of its cultural heritage from Indonesia and acquires new meaning overseas.

This forum explores some of the characteristics of the presence of gamelan in the United States, as well as the intersections of gamelan music and experimental composition. Using the case study of Gamelan Son of Lion, founded in 1976 and still active today, Mr. Jay M. Arms displays how they helped lead the way in developing a repertoire of American music for gamelan that draws on elements of Javanese and Balinese gamelan with American experimental music. Gamelan Son of Lion is among the oldest and longest running gamelan ensembles to champion new composition for gamelan in the United States.

Dr. Julianti Parani and Mr. Jay M. Arms will also cover central questions regarding the future of the Indonesian performance arts abroad: What are the forces shaping the future of Indonesian cultural presence in the international world? What kind of push and pull exists in creating gamelan and other Indonesian arts as global art forms? What kinds of artistic and cultural practices are shared across different communities in the U.S. and Indonesia? How will performance art serve and contribute towards the strengthening of Indonesia's bilateral relationship with the United States?

For those who are interested in academic journal writing, please join us for a short and collaborative workshop session subsequently (10:30 - 11:30) on Tips and Techniques for Academic Journal Writing.
To register, please kindly RSVP HERE: email to, or contact +62 813 1129 8780 no later than September 4, 2017 at 5:00 PM to attend this Open Forum.   

Speakers' Bio:

Jay M. Arms is a Ph.D candidate in cultural musicology track and teaching assistant at University of California, Santa Cruz. In the past seven years, he has pursued research for his dissertation entitled "Gamelan as World Citizen: American Experimental Music and the Internationalization of Gamelan" (expected 2018). His expertise and interests include experimental music, gamelan, improvisation, music and politics, 20th century music, musical instruments and musical communities. He currently serves as the Associate Editor of Balungan: The Journal of the American Gamelan Institute (AGI), an annual peer-reviewed journal dedicated to gamelan and its related arts around the world. He's presented his research at the Society for American Music (SAM), the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), The Northern California Chapter of the American Musicological Society (NCCAMS), the International Society of Minimalist Music (MinSoc), and the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM). 

Jay's publications as sole author has been published in The Open Space Magazine, Tempo, and The Bulletin for the Society for American Music. Jay has received multiple honors and awards, including Arts Divisions Dean's Award for best presentation in the 2017 US Santa Cruz Graduate Research Symposium. 

As a musician, Jay is an active performer of contemporary music for guitar, presenting new works by composers such as Jack Body, Cornelius Cardew, Nikita Koshkin, Nick Norton, and Martin Rokeach. As a gamelan performer, Jay has studied Sundanese gamelan with Undang Sumarna since 2014 and Central Javanese gamelan with Midiyanto S. Putro since 2017, performing with both groups regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Julianti Parani, is a lecturer, cultural and historical researcher, dancer, and choreographer with more than four decades of experience. She teaches Cultural Studies in Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ). She acquired her Southeast Asian Studies Doctorate from the National University of Singapore. Her dissertation, "National Culture and Ethnic Cultures: Government Policy and Performing Arts in 20th Century Indonesia," honed in on the relationship among Indonesian nationalism, identity, and the continuing cultural debate surrounding official cultural policy in Indonesia. She is currently a Board Member for ARTS FISSION, the longest incorporated contemporary dance company in Singapore. 

Since 1960, she has choreographed dances culturally influenced by Indonesian ethnic culture performed both domestically and internationally. Her passion to elevate Betawinese culture artistically, as well as through scholarship, led her to produce new dance works as well as a compendium of publications. She has published a book titled Bunga Rampai Seni Pertunjukan Kebetawian (Potpourri of Betawinese Performing Arts) and written articles in Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse.

In 1992, she assisted in the creation of Indonesian Dance Festival (IDF) along with other notable figures, such as Farida Oetoyo, Sardono W Kusumo and Tom Ibnur. After deepening her study by working at the Republic of Indonesia National Archives for thirty years, she retired in 1995. She received an award from the local DKI Jakarta government as a dance practitioner for her cultural expertise and Satya Lencana award from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.

The United States-Indonesia Society's mission is strengthening mutual understanding between the United States and Indonesia, enhancing the bilateral relationship, and deepening the U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership. We implement our mission through public discussions in each country and long-term bi-national programs in the education, legislative, and other sectors, including the US-Indonesia Joint Council on Higher Education Partnership and the newly-created Indonesia-U.S. Council on Religion and Pluralism.