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On Friday the Lower Fifth GCSE Musicians experienced a fascinating insight into the music of other cultures with a Gamelan workshop inDSCF0259 London. The Gamelan, an ‘orchestra’ of gongs and metallophones, is indigenous to Indonesia where the making of music together is a shared cultural and religious experience. The Gamelan was first heard in the West in 1889 at the great Paris Exposition (for which the Eiffel Tower was built) and its hypnotic sounds greatly influenced the music of French composers of the day, including Debussy and Ravel. The beautiful gamelan we played was a gift to the people of Great Britain from the Government of Java and is permanently housed at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.

After the morning workshop the group attended a schools’ matinee concert at the Royal Albert Hall, hearing Holst’s ‘The Planets’ performed byDSCF0281 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to complete a varied and hugely enjoyable musical experience.

Marcus Pashley
Director of Music