In October of 2003 Gamelan Semara Santi performed as a guest of the Philadelphia Orchestra on its subscription series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This project was initiated by the Philadelphia Orchestra as part of its 2003-04 festival in honor of Olivier Messiaen, the great 20th-century French composer, who counted Balinese gamelan among many of his sources of inspiration. (As another component of this festival, the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned Swarthmore professor Gerald Levinson, one of Messiaen's most prominent students, to compose a new composition. The Levinson work was premiered in September.)
Each program began with a 20 minute set of traditional Balinese compositions played by Gamelan Semara Santi. For the remainder of the concert the Philadelphia Orchestra played Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony, conducted by music director Christoph Eschenbach. At the three concerts in Philadelphia the full gamelan also performed a lecture/demonstration about Balinese music.
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