A memorandum of understanding will be signed Oct. 10 between the University of Pittsburgh and the Indonesian College of Performing Arts in Bandung, West Java, launching a partnership designed to further the two schools' common objectives of research and study in the field of Indonesian music and culture.
To mark the new relationship, Pitt's Department of Music is hosting for several days a delegation of 20 administrators, scholars, musicians, and dancers from West Java, many of whom will witness the document signing.
The private signing event will take place between 12:30 and 2 p.m. in the main dining room on the first floor of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Guests include Budi Bowoleksono, the ambassador of Indonesia to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.; Hon. Ghafur Akbar Dharmaputra, consul general of the Republic of Indonesia in New York; Indonesian College of Performing Arts director Een Herdiani, as well as eight of the school's faculty members. A representative from Pittsburgh's Office of the Mayor also will attend.
The visiting performers will present a free public concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 11.
"Music and Dance of West Java: The Past, Present, and Future of Sundanese Performing Arts" will take place in Bellefield Hall’s auditorium, 315 S.
Bellefield Ave., Oakland.
The group also will conduct private workshops for Pitt students taking courses in world music and gamelan, a musical ensemble students may participate in for credit through the Department of Music. Gamelan is a large orchestra that includes tuned gongs, metal-keyed instruments, and drums.
Pitt's Department of Music owns two gamelan sets, and the University Gamelan Ensemble holds a major concert every year that includes guest performers from Indonesia.
Department of Music Chair Andrew Weintraub, who has collaborated on projects with the Indonesian College for 30 years, says the partnership will bring about an exchange of students and creative artists and will enhance the exploration and understanding of Sundanese culture and performing arts, a core strength of Pitt's ethnomusicology program.
"Stronger relationships lead to better understanding of cultural diversity, and vice versa," he said. "A formal agreement between Pitt and the Indonesian College will facilitate better communication between the two schools. Our goal is to generate collaborative research projects, a student exchange at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and, eventually, the development of a Pitt in Indonesia study abroad program."
Prior to their visit to the Pitt campus, the group of scholars and musicians will visit Washington, D.C., where some will perform and participate in a mini symposium at the Smithsonian Institution.
The celebration marking the signing of the memorandum is sponsored by the Department of Music, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Pitt's Asian Studies Center, the Indonesian government, and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Washington, D.C.
(Text of press release by Sharon Blake)