I Putu Arya Deva Suryanegara
Master’s in music, Composition and sound creation option student
- What’s your background?
When I was very young I dreamed of playing the kendang, the traditional Balinese drum. Not having one, I practiced every day on a cardboard box and I encouraged my sister to follow me in my dreams. When I final got my first drum, I learned with my master I Wayan Budiarta. Studies with him and with subsequent masters allowed me to win kendang competitions until 2015.
During that period I taught and composed with a number of communities in my village. Later I studied composition at the Balinese music conservatory SMKN 3 Sukawati and at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts ISI Denpasar with I Made Subandi, I Gusti Ngurah Padang, I Ketut Cater and I Nyoman Windha. Just before graduating I joined the team of Insitu Recordings, where I studied large-ensemble recording production.
That experience led me to explore the use of electronic devices in composing for Balinese gamelan.
In my village of Kerobokan, in 2011 I founded the Naradha Gita (NAGi) gamelan and dance ensemble, regularly performing new compositions for gamelan. Additionally, I collaborated with local and international composers, besides creating a strong bond with my community through the performance of traditional works.
Today I compose, play and teach Balinese gamelan music. Also, for a little while I`ve been experimenting with new approaches to composition that combine gamelan and electronic music.
- Which study program are you taking at the Faculty of Music and why?
I’m eager to learn more, but there being no institution that would support my interest back in Bali, I turned to the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music. It’s one of the few institutions in the world where you can find both a rich digital-music composition program and a Balinese gamelan ensemble. Since 2019 I’ve been doing a master’s in music, Composition and sound creation option, under the direction of Pierre Michaud and Jonathan Goldman.
- What do you like best about the Faculty?
What impresses me about the Faculty of Music is the openness of the teaching staff to the diversity of their students’ music backgrounds. Their patience and compassion for me have helped me understand concepts that I wasn’t familiar with. The environment is conducive to discussion with others, who have definitely had an important influence on my development!
- Of the faculty members, are there any who especially inspire you?
My research director, Pierre Michaud, gets me to think and rethink the ways of combining electronic and gamelan by leading me to consider different esthetic and technical possibilities. My research co-director, Jonathan Goldman, is a source of inspiration for his way of teaching and his perspectives in musicology and ethnomusicology. The respect he has for his students and his special guests is remarkable. Their approaches to teaching are inspiring me to become, I hope, a teacher who gives students all the room and respect they deserve.
- Have you done any learning at the Faculty whose existence or usefulness you wouldn’t have suspected before?
It would never have occurred to me to learn to build a robotized gong or program compositions in DMX lights!
- In what way is your stay at the Faculty of Music influencing your life?
Being far from home, and studying in a new language and in a very different program from what I was familiar with to this point, opens me up to new perspectives with regard to my own musical culture. The chance I’ve had to teach students not from Bali has allowed me to see to what extent concepts that may seem obvious at first sight aren’t necessarily universally shared.
- In your stay at the Faculty of Music, you must have come across remarkable people who’ve had an impact on your development. Can you talk to us about one of them?
I’m grateful to have had the chance to meet and play with members of the Balinese gamelan ensemble-in-residence Giri Kedaton. Their constant help with my questions about the French language and their participation in my composition projects are just a small portion of what they’ve accomplished for me. They’ve become family!
- Do you have a particularly lasting memory at the Faculty of Music that you’d like to share with us?
One moment that was particularly special for me was my performance in electronic music. It was the first time I saw so many speakers; I was so excited to spatialize my piece and to hear the creations of my colleagues. It was at that moment that I learned what success for an electroacoustic concert means and the process that leads to it.
- What advice would you give to a first-year student?
My advice would be to not be afraid of taking off on a new adventure. It may turn out to be destabilizing to leave your comfort zone, but breaking new ground is worth the effort. Those are new perspectives that are finally fully integrated in my creative process.
- What are the 3 most important qualities for a musician?
1. Listen to and respect music and the people you work with.
2. Understand and respect the diversity of perspectives.
3. Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself with new musical experiences.
- Beyond music, what are your interests or passions?
Caring for plants, doing winter sports and eating chocolate help refresh my mind so that I can then concentrate on my work.
- What are your aspirations?
I want to continue supporting the people in my community who wish to study music. My dream is to found a music school that’s accessible to everyone.