The Sunderman Conservatory embraces a broad range of musical traditions, preparing students to be citizens of the world. Our core World Music offerings include “Mus_Clas 102: World Music;” “Mus_Clas 212: Cross Cultural Elements of Music;” "Mus_Clas 112: The Music of Japan and Koto Secrets," and our signature World Music ensemble, “Gamelan Gita Semara.” "Cross Cultural Elements” introduces music majors and minors to a range of musical styles as well as to modes of critical inquiry useful for approaching cultural diversity, while “Koto Secrets” offers a combination of classroom work with hands-on study of Japanese music. Three of our faculty members are active as World Music scholars: Dr. Austerlitz conducts research on Caribbean music; Dr. Robertson on Okinawan music and dance; and Dr. Talbot on the music of Bali.
Founded in 2010 by Dr. Brent C. Talbot, Gamelan Gita Semara (beautiful sound) is a Balinese gamelan angklung orchestra; the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania. This kind of ensemble is one of more than twenty-five distinct types found on the island of Bali. Traditionally, it played only for ceremonial and ritual functions, such as tooth filing ceremonies and cremations, but in the twentieth century newer styles of composition transferred into the gamelan angklung repertoire.
Gamelan at Gettysburg College, as in Bali, is a community effort. Our members include Gettysburg College students, faculty, and staff, as well as many members of the Adams County community. Learned without notation through an aural tradition, the music requires players to work together to learn the technique for how to play it and the complexities of this music. Each gamelan cultivates its own style and expressive nuance within the rich tradition of the music. The result is a sense of group unity and pride as the audience hears the music and witnesses the collective efforts of the group.
Each year, Gamelan Gita Semara at Gettysburg College performs throughout Central Pennsylvania in programs of traditional and contemporary Balinese music. Artists-in-residence programs bring the instruments to local elementary schools where members of the ensemble present interactive workshops. New members are always welcome in the Gamelan ensemble each year, regardless of musical experience. The ensemble meets on Fridays from 1:30-3:00 PM in Schmucker 117. Contact Dr. Brent C. Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in playing in the ensemble.