Thursday, June 1, 2023

World's Best Musicians to Feature in the G20 Orchestra

Jakarta Globe
July 27, 2022 | 4:46 pm
Ananda Sukarlan is an Indonesian composer and pianist. He is also the founder and artistic director of the G20 Orchestra. (Photo courtesy of Ananda Sukarlan)
Ananda Sukarlan is an Indonesian composer and pianist. He is also the founder and artistic director of the G20 Orchestra. (Photo courtesy of Ananda Sukarlan)

Jakarta. The G20 Orchestra, a newly founded orchestra by Indonesia that chairs this year's G20 Presidency, will have some world's best musicians featured in its world premiere at the Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, on Sep 12, 2022. 

Ananda Sukarlan, an Indonesian composer and pianist, who is also the founder and artistic director of the G20 Orchestra, said several countries had answered his request by sending their best instrumentalists to join the orchestra. 

Russia sent violist Antonina Popras, an understudy of Russian conductor and violist Yuri Bashmet, who many regarded as one of the best violists in the world today. The country also Nikita Loginov, a trumpeter from Russia's National Youth Symphony Orchestra, known for its highly competitive audition.  

"This was Russia's response when I sent a letter asking them to send their best orchestral players to be part of the G20 Orchestra," Ananda said in a statement. 


Argentina's flutist Santiago Clemenz would join the G20 Orchestra, taking some time off his duty as the principal player in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Salta and orchestras. Clemenz would solo a highly virtuosic section in "The Voyage to Marege," Ananda's symphonic work describing the conflict between indigenous Aborigins and European settlers.

Ananda said that the G20 Orchestra took pride in obliterating stereotypes. Two of the orchestra's three percussionists were females, defying the typical image of drummers "being about masculinity, power, and even a symbol of brutality through rhythms that hypnotize listeners," he said. 

The percussionists were graduates of Campinas University, famous for its percussion class, and professor Fernando Hashimoto, a Brazilian percussion specialist.

One of India's best double bass players, Jasiel Peter, would join the G20 Orchestra. 

Ananda said the G20 Orchestra would be Indonesia's legacy for the group of the world's 20 largest economies, calling the orchestra "a disruption in the classical music world" with its gender equality and youthfulness, Ananda said. 

"Our target of equaling the number of men and women was only slightly off to 34 male and 26 female," he said. Also, all the players are "born in or after 1990, so we can call it a "millennial" orchestra."  

Currently, only Saudi Arabia and Turkey are missing from the orchestra lineup. 

Indonesian musicians

The G20 Orchestra also held open auditions in Indonesia to provide equal opportunities to all the best Indonesian classical music talents, Ananda said. 

"The results are so encouraging. It's hard for me to pick just a few because of their unique musical abilities," he said.

"Most of our musicians in the G20 Orchestra are not known in the "classical music circle" and join orchestras in Jakarta. Is it because they live outside the city? Is it because they don't have enough connections?" Ananda said.

Among them was violinist Toby Winarto, a US citizen born to Indonesian couples and raised in the United States. 

Indonesia's young female conductor Eunice Tong will conduct the G20 Orchestra World Premiere. Pianist Calvin Abdiel, the third prize winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition 2021 and the Ananda Sukarlan Award Piano Competition 2020, will also feature in the orchestra. 

The orchestra also involves four most prominent classical Indonesian vocalists of today, winners of the Ananda Sukarlan Vocal Competitions from 2011 to 2021: Mariska Setiawan and Pepita Salim (sopranos), Nick Lucas (tenor), and Kadek Ari Ananda (baritone). 

The Ananda Sukarlan Award is an annual vocal and piano competition held by the Ministry of Education Culture, Research, and Technology to find young Indonesian classical music talents.


Ananda promised all the classical music lovers would expect from the G20 Orchestra World Premier with some additional freshness in the program. This year's G20 motto: Recover Together, Recover Stronger, would also be reflected in the program, he said. 

The main piece in the program is Piano Concerto no. 4 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Prokofiev wrote the piece under commission from Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm while fighting in the war against Russia in the First World War.

The G20 Orchestra would also play five songs from "A Child of Our Time," an oratorio from the British composer Sir Michael Tippett. Tippett wrote his anti-war masterpiece when he spent three months in jail for being a contentious objector to the Second World War effort.

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