In 1966, Professor of Musicology William Malm bought a gamelan for the University of Michigan. The gamelan, named Kyai Telaga Madu (Venerable Lake of Honey), promptly became the project of Judith Becker. She set about learning how to play each instrument, and in 1968 the U-M Gamelan Ensemble was formed under her directorship.
In 1990, Susan Pratt Walton took over directing the Ensemble, and she regularly brings the music, dance and puppetry of Central Java to the stage in Ann Arbor. Our gamelan program often features performances by eminent Javanese artists-in-residence. Since 1968, the ensemble has also explored new music composed for gamelan, helped in the training of an important generation of scholars of Southeast Asian music, and exposed students from all areas of the University to the vibrant culture of Indonesia.
The gamelan is owned by the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.
See below for more information on different aspects of our Gamelan program.