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‘We Got Rhythm’ concert raises funds for Indonesian wind musicians

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, May 18, 2018  /  06:34 pm
‘We Got Rhythm’ concert raises funds for Indonesian wind musicians

Amadeus Brass ensemble from Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute performs at 'We Got Rhythm' brass, woodwind and percussion concert at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

We Got Rhythm, a brass, woodwind and percussion concert, was organized to raise funds for wind musicians in Indonesia. Held by Yayasan Musik Amadeus Indonesia, the concert took place at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday.

Four ensembles comprising students and teachers from the institute performed that night, namely Amadeus Brass, Amadeus Grenadilla Clarinet Community, Amadeus Percussion Ensemble (AMPERE) and Amadeus Wind & Percussion. They also collaborated with Daren Robbins, chair of the Brass and Percussion Department at Mahidol University, Thailand, and member of the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra.

Among the pieces that were played last night were "Allegro Rococo" by Paul Koepke, "I Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin and "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel.

Darren Robbins (right) and Lilian O. Lenggono, a piano teacher from Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute, perform 'Three Preludes' at 'We Got Rhythm' brass, woodwind and percussion concert at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday, May 17, 2018.Darren Robbins (right) and Lilian O. Lenggono, a piano teacher from Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute, perform 'Three Preludes' at 'We Got Rhythm' brass, woodwind and percussion concert at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Also performing as the conductor for two songs, Robbins shared his experience teaching students for several days prior to the concert. “I came from America and the reason I like teaching in Southeast Asia is the students are hungrier,” Robbins told the Post before the show. “They don’t take the opportunity for granted, so they’re very serious, eager and curious to know. […] They want to learn, ask you so many questions and are really satisfying to teach. That’s the same in Thailand and Indonesia.”

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However, despite the successful performance that night, wind instruments in Indonesia do not enjoy great popularity.  

Besides the lack of musicians, the musical instruments are relatively expensive. “The least expensive one, the oboe, costs between Rp 30 million (US$2,121) and 40 million […] but children don't always like it,” Grace Soedargo, founder of Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute said. “Also, the price of a violin can increase as it gets older, but that is not the case for wind instruments.”

Grace said 90 percent of the students who performed that night had received a scholarship from the music institute, meaning they did not have to pay for tuition or instruments. It is one way to attract more wind musicians. “We cannot do it alone, the government cannot help and we cannot rely on sponsors,” said Grace.

Amadeus Percussion Ensemble (AMPERE) from Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute perform at 'We Got Rhythm' brass, woodwind and percussion concert at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday, May 17, 2018.Amadeus Percussion Ensemble (AMPERE) from Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute perform at 'We Got Rhythm' brass, woodwind and percussion concert at Goethe Haus, Central Jakarta on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

That is why they also launched Adopt a Musician, a program in which people can “adopt” students from the institute’s wind department. Types of adoption vary depending on the instrument, starting from Rp 200,000 per month for a minimum of one year for clarinet.

Established in 1992, Amadeus Indonesia Music Institute has educated students from 2 to 50 years old. The institute currently has nearly 300 students and 21 teachers. It is the only music school in Southeast Asia that is affiliated with Johann Sebastian Bach Musikschule in Vienna, Austria. Both schools still conduct a teacher exchange program.

Those who are interested in joining Adopt a Musician program can contact +62 21-725-6557. (mut)