Tony Prabowo

Indonesian Composer

The music of Indonesian composer Tony Prabowo has fascinated international audiences. Tony Prabowo was born in Malang, Indonesia in 1956 and began his formal studies in music under the guidance of the widely acclaimed composer Slamet Abdul Sjukur.

In his own country, he has provided music for renowned dancers and choreographers, including Laksmi Simanjuntak and Sardono W. Kusumo, in translation by the visual artists Teguh Ostenrik; theater productions with director WS. Rendra; numerous texts by the poet Goenawan Mohamad; and two feature films by Garin Nugroho: Letter from an Angel (1992) and Puisi Tak Terkuburkan (2000).

As the founder of the New Jakarta Ensemble in 1996, he has found a way of creating unique contemporary sounds with traditional musicians from West Sumatra. This group has performed in Indonesia, England, and the United Stated and recently released their first CD, Commonality on the American label Siam Records.

Tony Prabowo has received important grants from Meet the Composer, the Ford Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council, under whose auspice he lived in New York from October 1997 to April 1998.

On the international scene, Tony Prabowo’s work with choreographer Sulistyo Tirtokusumo and poet Goenawan Mohamad on the dance theater piece Panji Sepuh, brought his music to Australia and South Korea.

His European experiences include performances of his Requiem for Strings (1998) by the orchestra of the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on their 1999 Indonesian tour.

His collaboration with American artists include music for Karen Williams and Tom Andrew’s experimental play Blurred Vision, at the Jakarta Art Center and New York’s Theater for the New City; Visible Religion with composer Jarrad Powell and Gamelan Pacifica, premiere in Seattle, Minneapolis and Chicago, Empty Tradition (1998) with Chinese American choreographer Yin Mei at the Asia Society in New York and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; and Kali; An Experimental Opera (2000) with Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad, American choreographer Mary Sheldon Scott and composer Jarrad Powell, premiered at On the Boards in Seattle.

Canadian violist Stephanie Griffin has performed his viola and pre-recorded glass sound Commonality I, Music for Multiple Viola 1999, Music for Multiple Viola 2000, Music for Multiple Viola 2001, and B-A-C-H (for multiple viola 2004).