B i o g r a p h y

Iwan Gunawan was born in Bandung Indonesia (1974), is one of the most important contemporary composers of Java. He has played the gamelan since the age of six. During his studies at IKIP Bandung (Now Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia), he focused not only on his own musical tradition, but also on western conventions. He is one of those rare musicians who remains true to his own roots but also performs Westerns music at a professional standart. In his compositions he uses contemporary structures and live electronics.

In terms of actually presenting his works, Iwan Gunawan encountered difficulties because most of his compositions were written precisely using the note block system, or his works were composed on a computer (electronic music). Even so, as is the case with many composers worldwide, Iwan established his own ensemble called "Kyai Fatahillah" in 2004, which performed formally for the first time, when Iwan was invited to participate in the “Contemporary Gamelan Festival” at House of World Cultures in Berlin, Germany. 

Kyai Fatahillah’s presentation was warmly welcomed by the audience in Berlin, through which Iwan Gunawan proved 
that he gamelan aesthetic and western musical notation were not contradictory things and could complement and enrich 
one another as long as there was adequate opportunity to practice in line with musical needs. This performance in Berlin marked the start of Iwan’s career in Europe, in particular Holland, where he got the support of impresario Rob van de Bos (Anmaro Asia Arts) and also Piet Hein van de Poel. With the help of them, Iwan has spent a number of highly creative years working not only with traditional Sundanese music, but also with western contemporary music. In 2011, Iwan Gunawan and his group became the ensemble of choice to work with "Ensemble Mosaik" of Berlin in the Southeast Asia composer’s competition held by Goethe Institut Jakarta.

Currently, Iwan Gunawan is one of Indonesian composers are very mature, and has represented Indonesia in the international stage for several years. Ghost Track is a collective composition and choreography which he developed together with LeineRoebana, and have learned a success in various stage in Europe as well as Indonesia.

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