In 1987 Southbank Centre was privileged to receive a beautiful Javanese percussion orchestra called gamelan. This was a remarkable gift from the Government of the Republic of Indonesia to the people of Great Britain as a gesture of friendship. As in the case of many important gamelan ensembles, the gamelan was named ‘Kyai Lebdha Jiwa’ or ‘The Venerable Spirit of Perfection’.
Founded by Alec Roth, Southbank Centre Gamelan Programme has since reached out to thousands of people and provided many opportunities to learn about and play these amazing instruments. The gamelan programme is facilitated by a core group of expert tutors, many of whom have lived and studied in Indonesia and have a wide knowledge of Indonesian Arts and culture as well as a prolific background in Western music. There are now over one hundred gamelans in the UK and a thriving gamelan community in which our tutors play a vital role.
Southbank Gamelan Players, Ensemble in Residence at Southbank Centre, have an international reputation for the performance of traditional Indonesian music as well as New Music for gamelan and exciting collaborations with musicians and dancers across a variety of art forms.
Southbank Centre’s Gamelan Programme offers something to suit everybody: from family, school and group workshops to regular classes and performances. No previous musical experience is necessary to play the gamelan and enjoy its wonderful sounds.
Gamelan is both a rewarding musical and social activity. Playing the gamelan can inspire self-confidence, improve coordination and listening skills, encourage team-building and be a great opportunity to try something new or develop your playing skills in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Learn to play the gamelan, see performances of gamelan, or find out more about these beautiful instruments here.
For more information about gamelan at Southbank Centre, please email or telephone 020 7921 0767.
Southbank Centre is an Arts Award Supporter.