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Jakarta Post

Obituary: Renowned violinist Idris Sardi dies at 75

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 29, 2014   /  09:18 am
Obituary: Renowned violinist Idris Sardi dies at 75

JP/P.J. Leo

Indonesian virtuoso violinist Idris Sardi died on Monday, leaving a legacy of important compositions and notable protégés. He was 75.

He died in a hospital after a prolonged struggle with liver disease and ulcers, his family said.

Idris composed around 1,900 songs, four of which won Piala Citra awards for Best Film Score in the 1970s and 1980s.

Critics and fellow musicians acknowledged his virtuosity in playing different genres on the violin.

'€œIf I can describe him in three words, [Uncle] Idris was disciplined, firm and fervent,'€ Armand Maulana, the vocalist and front man of rock band GIGI, was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He recalled a story in which Idris became outraged when a group of musicians were only given rice boxes at an event while guests sat down to a meal at the table.

'€œ[Idris] said if you invite [musicians], it means you need [them].'€

Idris'€™ love for music began early, and his lifetime as a musician was marked by highs and lows.

Idris was born in Jakarta on June 7, 1938, to M. Sardi, a violinist of the legendary Studio RRI Jakarta orchestra, and Hadidjah, an actress.

He learned to play the violin before the age of 6, and when his father died, Idris took his position as concertmaster in the orchestra. He was only 16.

In the 1960s, he began playing popular music and became the resident musician at Hotel Indonesia, the showcase of a budding economy at that time.

Dubbed a national prodigy, Idris made his name by playing Indonesian songs in new arrangements suitable to the popular Western songs preferred by the hotel'€™s mostly foreign guests.

A true nationalist, Idris popularized Indonesian folk music keroncong by playing '€œI Left My Heart in San Fransisco'€ at the 1964 World'€™s Fair in New York.

At the age of 60, Idris voluntarily enlisted in the Indonesian Military (TNI) and was assigned to the prestigious Army'€™s Special Forces (Kopassus) to develop the military music corps. Idris composed anthems for the military forces, such as '€œMars Wira Amur'€ for the aviation corps of the Army.

He was on duty from 1996 until 2000 and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Not once did he draw a salary.

Idris performed in Malaysia last year in a tribute concert for Malaysian artist P. Ramlee and held his last solo concert in December.

During his life, Idris collaborated with various artists and musicians from different genres and generations.

He leaves behind three children from his marriage to Zerlita: Santi Sardi, Lukman Sardi and Ajeng Triani. After divorcing his second wife, famous actress Marini, Idris married Ratih Putri.

One of Idris'€™ students, Maylaffayza Wiguna, is now a leading Indonesian female violinist.

Idris was buried on Monday afternoon at the Taman Menteng Pulo cemetery in Tebet, South Jakarta.

The funeral was attended by family and friends, including music composer and social observer Eros Djarot, guitarist Jopie Item, singer Titiek Puspa and younger artists and musicians Erwin Gutawa, Dwiki Dharmawan and Adi Bing Slamet. (ebf)

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