MICHAEL STEADMAN began studying Balinese music in 1991 while an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. His dedication to Balinese music quickly became apparent and for two years he was hired to work as Teaching Assistant for Eastman's newly founded Gamelan Lila Muni.
In 1994 Michael relocated to the Bay Area and began performing with the Balinese performing arts group Gamelan Sekar Jaya. He participated in Sekar Jaya's 1995 and 2000 tours to Bali, performing in the gong kebyar, angklung, joged, and jegog groups. Michael is well versed on many Balinese instruments but specializes in the joged and rindik repertoire performed on traditional bamboo marimbas.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music and also performs as a freelance classical harpist.
Hear Michael describe how he first got started in Balinese music. (A 2'32" excerpt from Gamelan Kori Mas' live radio interview with Tracey Shavone on KKCR, May 2006. Hear the full interview.)
SAMUEL WANTMAN began playing Indonesian Music in 1978 when he joined the Javanese Gamelan at Goddard College in Vermont founded and directed by Dennis Murphy, one of the fathers of American Gamelan. That group evolved into the Plainfield Village Gamelan, and Sam continued as the bonang player until 1988.
That year Sam left Vermont to travel around Asia. Originally, he intended to study music in Java, but he was so intrigued with Bali, that he changed his plans. He eventually spent 8 months studying gamelan gong, rindik, and joged.
He returned to the USA in mid-1989 and moved to San Francisco, where he joined Gamelan Sekar Jaya, based in El Cerrito, where he served for 5 years as its treasurer and 2 years as President. He founded Sekar Jaya's Joged group and helped resurrect its Jegog group. He returned to Bali in 1990-91, 1992, 1995 and 2000.
Hear Sam describe how he first got started in Balinese music. (A 1'33" excerpt from Gamelan Kori Mas' live radio interview with Tracey Shavone on KKCR, May 2006. Hear the full interview.)
KEN WORTHY had been playing Western music for many years when he first heard Balinese music as a college student. He loved it immediately and started studying formally in California in 1990 with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, under the direction of his first gamelan teacher and friend, the well-known Balinese composer I Nyoman Windha. Shortly after that, Ken settled in Bali for two years to study music and other aspects of the culture while living with Balinese musicians and dancers. During this period, he became a Balinese suling (bamboo flute) specialist under the tutelage of the suling virtuoso, I Gusti Putu Oka.
Ken has enjoyed performing hundreds of times in Bali, with about a dozen different gamelan groups from small village-based groups to regional groups such as Gamelan Semara Ratih, considered one of the finest ensembles in Bali. He has also performed in many parts of the U.S. and in Europe with several American and European gamelan groups. The genres of gamelan in which he has performed include gong kebyar, semaradhana, semar pegulingan, rindik, joged, gong gede, gong suling, arja, perembon, batel, wayang suling and angklung. Ken returns to Bali frequently; more than three years total spent living there have enabled him to learn many new pieces, gain insights into the music, dance and culture, and perform frequently. He remains active in western music as a member of the University of California Alumni Chorus. Ken holds a PhD in environmental philosophy and ethics from UC Berkeley.
Hear Ken describe how he first got started in Balinese music. (A 2'36" excerpt from Gamelan Kori Mas' live radio interview with Tracey Shavone on KKCR, May 2006. Hear the full interview.)