Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries Host Major Indonesian Music Festival

Free Public Festival Features Music, Dance, Film, Workshops
October 24, 2013
News Release
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More than a hundred musicians, dancers and scholars from Indonesia and around the world will congregate in Washington this weekend for “Performing Indonesia: A Conference and Festival of Music, Dance, and Drama,” Oct. 31–Nov. 3, at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The four-day festival includes elaborate evening performances of music, dance, drama and shadow puppetry, daylong “Gamelan Marathons” and an academic conference on Indonesian music, all highlighting variations on Indonesia’s performing arts, from the traditional to the experimental.  

Visitors can also join family workshops on shadow puppetry and dance, meet the director at a screening of the gamelan-inspired film Opera Jawa, discover a contemporary art installation called the “Gamelatron” and experience the “Réog Ponorogo,” a traditional dance with a 4-foot-tall lion mask.

All events are free and open to the public; free tickets are required for the evening concerts. Indonesian food will be available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday. The performance on Thursday, Oct. 31, begins at 7:30 p.m. The festival hours for Friday, Nov. 1, are 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3.

Indonesia’s trademark gamelan orchestras are elaborate sets of gongs and metal xylophones ranging in size from a few inches in diameter to several feet tall. Some music written for gamelan requires a performance group of up to 30 musicians, including vocalists, drummers and string players.

“Performing Indonesia” is a joint presentation of the Freer and Sackler galleries and the Embassy of Indonesia.

A full schedule of events and program descriptions are available online. Any filming, photography and interview requests must be coordinated through

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.

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