Improvisation as Practice-Based Research in Intercultural Musicking

Led by Ellen Waterman at Memorial University, Newfoundland, this project examines social and cultural aspects of contemporary intercultural encounters and mediations of tradition and innovation. It brings together traditional gamelan degung with contemporary musical experimentation in Sundanese culture and in Canada, leading to insights and innovations that are shared through workshops, performances, and the commissioning of new musical works.

In 2014-15, Waterman worked with St. John’s musician Bill Brennan and colleagues from Acadia University led by Ken Shorley to undergo intensive study of gamelan degung and suling in Bandung, Indonesia, with master player Ade Suparman.  Outcomes included a performance with Suparman at Padepokan Seni Mayang Sunda (Sundanese Cultural Centre) on May 9, 2014. Waterman performed suling with MUN’s Gamelan Sagara Asih (directed by Brennan) in works by composer/improviser Mark Duggan as part of the Newfound Music Festival XII, February 5, 2015. Waterman also commissioned Brennan to create a new work for improvisational flute and gamelan which was presented at the 2016 Sound Symposium. “Gamelan Innovations” featured Ade Suparman, Bill Brennan, Ken Shorley, Heidi Kalyani, Jeff Hennessy, Timothy Brennan, Rob Power, (gamelan), and Ellen Waterman (flute) and premiered “Temple on the Lake,” composed by Bill Brennen.

Site: Memorial University, Newfoundland

Researcher: Ellen Waterman, in collaboration with Music Media and Place (MMaP), Gamelan Sagara Asih, School of Music, Memorial University (director Bill Brennan).