Composer of intrumental and vocal works
combining traditional Indonesian elements with international resources




contact the composer: Tonny Prabowo

The music of Indonesian composer Tony Prabowo has captivated audiences in his own country and on the international scene.

Born in Malang, Indonesia in 1956, he studied music under the guidance of the widely acclaimed composer Slamet Abdul Syukur, and was soon recognized as one of his nation's foremost composers for his numerous collaborations with renowned choreographers, visual artists, poets, theater directors and film-makers.

His music has also been featured at prestigious international festivals in Indonesia, including Art Summit 1998 and the Sacred Rhythm Millennial Percussion Festival in Bali. In addition to his work with Western-style ensembles, he also creates unique contemporary compositions with traditional Indonesian musicians. His longest-standing collaboration of this kind is with the New Jakarta Ensemble, which he founded in 1996. This group has performed in Indonesia, England and the United States and recently released their first CD, Commonality, on Siam Records.

Internationally, Tony Prabowo's music has travelled to the United States, Europe, Australia and South Korea. He first came to the United States for a theater collaboration at the 1988 New York International Festival of the Arts. Other collaborations with Americans include music for

  • Karen Williams and Tom Andrews' experimental play Blurred Vision (Jakarta Arts Center; Theater for the New City, NYC)
  • Visible Religion with composer Jarrad Powell and Gamelan Pacifica (Seattle, Minneapolis and Chicago)
  • Empty Tradition (1998) with Chinese-American choreographer Yin Mei (The Asia Society, NYC and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival)
  • Kali: An Experimental Opera (2000) with choreographer Mary Sheldon Scott, composer Jarrad Powell and Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad, (On the Boards, Seattle)

Performances of his important concert works include

  • Dongeng Sebelum Tidur (1992) for soprano and mixed ensemble (Jakarta, the Netherlands, New York)
  • Autumnal Steps (1996) for chamber orchestra (the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Seattle Creative Orchestra, the orchestra of ISI Yogya in Indonesia)
  • Requiem for Strings (1988) (the Mannes Orchestra under Co Nguyen, the orchestra of the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, the 1998 Tanglewood Festival under Tan Dun, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on their 1999 Indonesian tour)
  • and his viola pieces Commonality I, Music for Multiple Violas I and II (by Stephanie Griffin in New York, Seattle, Chicago and Jakarta)

Recently Prabowo has turned his attention to vocal music. His first opera, The King's Witch (1999), will be premiered by the New Juilliard Ensemble in Alice Tully Hall this November. In July 2000, his first choral work Meditation on Lu Xun II won a prize at the festival in Linz, Austria, and recently had its Indonesian premiere in Jakarta.

Currently he is working on an oratorio for choir, five soloists and viola, on texts by the Indonesian writer Tan Malaka. Tony Prabowo has received important grants from Meet the Composer, the Ford Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council, under whose auspices he lived in New York from October 1997 to April 1998. Future projects include a commission from the Kronos Quartet, a mixed choir piece for Bel Canto Jakarta Madrigal's French tour, and a Japan Foundation residency in Tokyo in 2002.

This page hosted by the American Gamelan Institute.