Sydney conservatorium Balinese Gamelan ensemble and special guests

devotional bali sydney sacred music festival

saturday 15 September 1pm
Sydney Conservatorium of music


Devotional Music of Bali 

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, led by Gary Watson and with special guest artists, Sisca Poeradiredja (jogéd dancer), Agung Putra (suling) and Oscar Smith (tingklik), will present both sacred and secular pieces associated with the temple festivals (odalan) of Bali’s predominantly Hindu-Buddhist culture.

The program will be performed on the Conservatorium’s gamelan gong semaradana, a large percussion ensemble comprising bronze-keyed metallophones, gongs and drums, and will also include a social dance, jogéd, accompanied by rindik ensemble (two tinggklik [bamboo xylophones] plus suling [bamboo end-blown flute]), where audience participation is invited!


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born in Bandung, Java (Indonesia) and has performed and taught traditional Indonesian dance in Australia for 12 years. Sisca has her own dance group, Srikandi Indonesia Dancers, based in Wollongong (NSW). Dance and music are her passion. For further information, visit:

born in Gianyar, Bali. Like many children in his village, he learned to play gamelan from an early age, getting together after school to make miniature barong, lifesize lion-like puppets worn by two children and paraded through the village to the accompaniment of a small but tumultuous band of drums, gongs and crash cymbals. As a high school student, he began learning suling (bamboo flute) with his cousin in Gianyar, and despite a fairly hesitant beginning, eventually found himself performing at local temple ceremonies. Agung migrated to Australia in 2003, settling in Melbourne, where he completed a TAFE course as an apprentice chef. While there, he actively participated in the city’s Balinese community gamelan, as well as gamelan groups at Monash University and RMIT. In 2010, Agung moved to Sydney, where he now lives and works, performing regularly with the gamelan groups of the NSW Balinese community and Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


A young composer with a wide spectrum of musical interests. His passion for music was kindled in the St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir, where he learnt organ and singing, and still continues to sing there. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Music (Composition) degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, primarily under Michael Smetanin. Oscar has a deep love of Balinese gamelan and, on the three visits he has made so far to Bali, has studied with many famous musicians, including the internationally renowned Dewa Putu Berata, of Sanggar Çudamani, acclaimed contemporary gamelan composer, Dewa Alit, of Gamelan Salukat, and consummate gamelan rindik performer, I Kadek Dedy Praetama.


Holds a Master of Music degree in the Performance of Balinese Gamelan Music from The University of Sydney and has gained an extensive performing knowledge of this music through regular visits to his teachers in Bali over a period of nearly 30 years. For twelve of those years (1989-2001), Gary studied annually with celebrated gamelan musician and composer, Bapak I Wayan Gandra, of Peliatan village (Ubud). Following Bapak Gandra’s death in 2002, Gary continued his studies with Dewa Putu Berata and Dewa Rai, both former students of Bapak Gandra and founding members of Çudamani, one of Bali’s most highly acclaimed gamelan groups locally and internationally. In 1992, Gary’s advocacy and technical assistance led to The Australian Museum (Sydney) purchasing a set of gamelan gong kebyar instruments from Bali and, on its arrival later that year, Gary quickly established Sydney’s first Balinese gamelan ensemble, Sekaa Gong Tirta Sinar. In 1999, Gary took up a post teaching Balinese gamelan to Bachelor of Music Education students at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and in 2015 was instrumental in launching a new gamelan ensemble elective there. Since its inception, Sekaa Gong Tirta Sinar has met for weekly practice sessions, originally at the Australian Museum, and now at Sydney Con, where the group joins forces with Gary’s students in performances twice or more yearly on the Conservatorium’s own gamelan gong semaradana set, acquired in 2006.