“Despite being nearly geographical antipodes on a globe, Chicago and Bandung share a musical connection through a fledgling symphony orchestra—and the musicians who founded it,” writes Hannah Edgar in Sunday’s (5/13) Chicago Maroon, the University of Chicago’s student newspaper. The Bandung Philharmonic, launched in 2016, is based in West Java’s capital of Bandung, and led by Executive Director Airin Efferin, a native of Bandung, and co-artistic directors Robert Nordling and violist Michael Hall, both based in Chicago. Efferin “spent her undergrad years at Calvin College in Grand Rapids [where] she took a conducting class with … Nordling, music director of the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival and Lake Forest Civic Orchestra…. The [Bandung Philharmonic] gave its first concert in a headline-grabbing gala event attended by over 200 people…. The Bandung Philharmonic’s mission of being an Indonesian ensemble … remains constant…. The founders note that the orchestra occupies a novel, sometimes precarious place in Indonesia’s cultural sphere. After centuries of Dutch occupation, some Indonesians are understandably wary of any presence which smacks of cultural colonialism.” Says Nordling, “We’re trying to make a case that there is a place for classical Western symphonic repertoire—intelligently introduced, explained, themed—in conjunction and conversation with Indonesian composed music.”

Posted May 16, 2018