Ecuador & Indonesia: Historical Artistic Relationship

    The artists with the Ambassador of Ecuador Santiago Chavez & spouse, with the hosts from Bimasena INDONESIAKININEWS.COM - Another mi...

   The artists with the Ambassador of Ecuador Santiago Chavez & spouse, with the hosts from Bimasena

milestone in the relationship between Ecuador and Indonesia was made through the arts last Friday, October 20th 2023. 

It was the concert of the pianist & composer Ananda Sukarlan, organized by The Bimasena at The Dharmawangsa Hotel and co-hosted by the Embassy of Ecuador in Jakarta.

Entitled "History Through The Arts", in this concert the Indonesian Maestro was not alone. He was accompanied by two of his protégés, both winners of the Ananda Sukarlan Award Classical Voice competition who have shown their high musicianship, artistic and technical prowess at their young age that evening.

The highlight of the program was Ecuador's celebrated poet, Jorge Carrera Andrade (1903-1978) and his groundbreaking short poems "Microgramas". 

These are works of genius of just a few words, depicting things such as animals, typewriters and others in such a peculiar way, and Ananda Sukarlan amazingly captured the atmosphere to make music out of each of them. 

Hailed by the Sydney Morning Herald as "one of the world's leading pianists at the forefront of championing new piano music", Sukarlan has chosen six of these fascinating micrograms to be set to music after he was commissioned by the Ecuadorian Embassy. 

The tenor William Prasetyo gave the World Premiere which has become an important historical landmark as this is the first collaboration between prominent figures of the arts of the two countries.

The diplomatic relationship between Ecuador and Indonesia was officially established on April 29th, 1980 although the Ecuador Embassy in Jakarta was opened in 2004.

This concert has successfully gathered almost all of the Ambassadors and diplomats from the Hispanic Countries in Jakarta, among others those of Guatemala, Spain, Brazil as well as Bangladesh and Austria.  

Santiago Chavez, the Ambassador of Ecuador gave an opening speech as the co-host and commissioner of Ananda Sukarlan's new masterpiece, "Andradiana": 

"For the Embassy of Ecuador it is a great satisfaction to support cultural initiatives aimed at broadening the dissemination of music and poetry in Indonesia, and especially those which promote the great Indonesian composer, conductor and performer of the Indonesian piano, Ananda Sukarlan and winners of the Ananda Sukarlan Award, soprano Shelomita Amory and tenor William Prasetyo. 

The joint work between the Embassy of Ecuador and artists committed to culture, such as Ananda Sukarlan, who is a true leader and promoter of it, contributes to strengthen the existing ties between our countries, and to continue working in favour of harmony, understanding and peace in the world."

"History shouldn't be learned and memorized. It should simply be felt. Without feeling it, you won't understand it", said Sukarlan, an alumni of the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) of Den Haag, Holland with Summa Cumlaude and since then has been living in Spain.

"I love history, but hated history lessons during school years. I believe that if we cannot feel the emotions of the conflicts, wars and all human defects in the past, we are bound to repeat them. Art plays an important role in learning --and feeling-- history, and that's why, as a musician, I feel that it our task to bring this up to our audience" he continued.

Slavery and human trafficking has been, and still is part of the history of humanity. There was Phyllis Wheatley, the African girl who became the first black poet in history after she was shipped to the USA and landed with a kind and civilized family who bought her as a slave. 

Two of her most powerful poems were set to music by Sukarlan: "On Virtue", and "On Being Brought From Africa to America".

Much closer to home, there was Auw Tjoei Lan, a heroine who, with her husband Captain Lie Tjian Tjoen saved hundreds of Chinese girls, shipped from China to Batavia to be sold as slaves in the beginning of the 20th century.

At the moment, Sukarlan is busy working on his opera "Musuh si Mucikari" (Enemy of the Pimp) about this fascinating figure to be premiered next year, working together with Chendra Panatan as the stage director and Emi Suy, the celebrated Indonesian poet as the librettist (text writer), both of whom were present at the concert. Two deeply heart-wrenching duet arias from this opera were performed by Shelomita and William.

The audience was also touched by Sukarlan's poignant settings of poems by Emily Dickinson as well as Federico Garcia Lorca. Lorca's "Ode to Salvador Dali" was one of Sukarlan's response to the Spanish Embassy's commission in 2016 to celebrate the poet's 80th anniversary of death at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali.

Sukarlan also performed some of his celebrated "Rapsodia Nusantara", virtuosic works for piano solo based on Indonesian folk melodies from all over the archipelago. The special one is Rapsodia Nusantara no. 39, written to be played for the left hand only, written for disabled pianists, either born or losing the right hand's ability during their life.

Now there is no excuse for talented but physically disabled people not to be a musician anymore. History remembers pianist Paul Wittgenstein who lost his right arm during World War I, and then commissioned composers Sergei Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel, among others, to write concertos for the left hand alone. 

This tradition was then broken after Wittgenstein's death, and Ananda Sukarlan now will continue it in an extensive and intensive way, to make those who are "disabled" into "abled" artists in their own rights.

Source : indonesiakininews.com


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IndonesiaKiniNews.com: Ecuador & Indonesia: Historical Artistic Relationship
Ecuador & Indonesia: Historical Artistic Relationship
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