Presenting Gamelan Son of Lion – One of the Oldest active Gamelan Ensembles in the US

gamelanOn Friday, December 16, Flushing Town Hall will present Gamelan Son of Lion, a music repertory ensemble specializing in contemporary pieces written for the instruments of the Javanese gamelan.

Gamelan Son of Lion – which is based on New York City – bridges two musical words: experimental contemporary America and the bright gongs of Indonesia, employing instruments from Indonesia with homemade additions. There are about 100 active gamelan ensembles in the United States, and Gamelan Son of Lion rates among the oldest of these, having performed continuously for 40 years. It is also one of the few in this country that operate independently of institutions as a professional music ensemble.

The New York Times described the ensemble as “the most prominent New York-area manifestation of a fascinating nationwide movement.” The ensemble – which was co-founded by a trip of composers, Barbara Benary, Daniel Goode, and Philip Corner in the 1970s, and became incorporated in 1980 – has routinely performed experimental works by Indonesian composers, many involving gamelan with electronic music, and several theatre works involving opera, wayang kulit, multimedia and dance.

At Flushing Town Hall’s event, performers will include: Barbara Benary (Artistic Director) , David Demnitz, Daniel Goode, Nicholas Klinovsky, Jody Kruskal, Skip LaPlante,  Laura Liben, Layne Negrin, Myles Robert, Larry Simon and Sima Wolf.

“Our ensemble, unlike orchestras, is a democratic affair in which most of the musicians can play most of the instruments, and do switch parts frequently with different compositions,” says Co-founder Barbara Benary. “So no one is the soloist and many people are.”

Tickets to the event are $10 for members and students, and $16 for non-members. Tickets are available at

Gamelan Son of Lion has performed as guests of the Government of Indonesia in Vancouver, Canada, and has toured Java, participating in the Jogakarta Gamelan Festival and Borobudur Festival, and toured in New Zealand and Estonia.

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