Beginner Balinese Dance Classes are Here!

6 week Beginner Balinese Dance class starting Sept. 26th!

Matthew Dunning

Founder / Executive Director

Matt founded the original Buffalo Gamelan Club in late 2015 with a set of instruments shipped across the world from Java and a dream to bring the enchanting music of Indonesia to Buffalo. Matt started playing gamelan music in 2006 while living in Chicago, and developed a deep understanding of Javanese performance and cultural practices while living on Java from 2011-2013. Matt was the recipient of the Indonesian national Darmasiswa artistic residency scholarship twice. He has been fortunate to study with some of the best gamelan musicians in Java and the US including Darsono Hadirajarjo, Heri Purwanto, Wawan Sosodoro, Pak Hartono, Midiyanto, and Pak Kamso.

Darsono Hadiraharjo – Guest Artistic Director

Darsono comes from a prominent family of music and theater traditions in Central Java, Indonesia. He grew up in a small village outside of the court city of Surakarta, Darsono learned the revered art of shadow puppetry from his father and other relatives. He continued his study at Institute Seni Indonesia, a national conservatory of the arts in Indonesia. Today, he is one of the most prominent musicians inside and outside Surakarta. At the royal court of Mangkunegaran, he serves as the main drummer for dances. In the surrounding villages, he is regularly featured as an accompanying musician at shadow puppet theater performances. 

Darsono has traveled widely as a teacher and performer of music as well as a puppet master (dhalang) in Europe, the US, and Asia. In the U.S., Darsono has been appointed as an artist-in-residence at several institutions, including Wesleyan University, Smith College, Tufts University, Bates College, and Cornell University. Darsono believes that within the domain of the performing arts, there is a “mysterious property” that allows people from various backgrounds to naturally come together, transcend differences, and reach a deeper mutual understanding.

Heri Purwanto – Guest Artistic Director

Heri is a freelance musician in great demand as a performer and teacher in Java and the United States. He comes from a family of musicians and instrument makers in Wonogiri, Central Java. He graduated top of his class at the prestigious STSI music school in Surakarta. Heri has taught at UC Berkeley, The University of Washington, Earlham University, in Chicago with the Friends of the Gamelan, and in Buffalo with Sari Raras Irama. He plays all the instruments of the gamelan but is known for his drumming and his gendèr playing.. Many instruments that comprise the gamelan in Buffalo were built by Heri’s father, Pak Sarno.