About this Recording
76061-2 - INDONESIA / CANADA - Evergreen Club: Sunda Song

Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan

Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is an ensemble of eight professional Canadian musicians with classical western musical training and extensive performance experience who perform and record on an extended gamelan Degung. A Gamelan is an orchestra composed primarily of percussion instruments including bronze gongs, gong chimes, metallophones, xylophones and wooden barrel-shaped drums. Often a bamboo flute, strings and voices join them too. Collectively these instruments are known as a gamelan, of which there are many types of regional variants in Indonesia. One of the types is called Degung, which is a particular type of gamelan indigenous to the region of West Java, Indonesia. It has its own special instrumentation, repertoire and five-tone tuning: roughly Ab–G–Eb–Db–C, in the case of Evergeen Club’s Degung.

The sonorous bronze instruments of Evergreen Club’s gamelan Degung were made in Java by the noted gong smith Pa Tentrem of Surakarta. They are supported by instrument stands made of Canadian hard maple, which were designed and built by members of Evergreen Club.

Founded in 1983 and based in Toronto, Canada, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is a unique performing ensemble dedicated to the development and expansion of its repertoire through the commissioning of new works by composers from Canada and around the world, as well as performing traditional Sundanese pieces. The more than 200 works written for Evergreen Club highlight both gamelan and ‘gamelan-plus’, which describe works which include guest soloists, guest ensembles, solo and ensemble dance, or auxiliary media such as film, electro-acoustic media, etc. The resulting repertoire reflects a particular Canadian intermingling of cultural sensibilities within a global perspective - primarily drawing on Sundanese (West Javanese) musical traditions and those of Europe and the Americas.

Evergreen Club’s numerous concert appearances have delighted audiences within Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Indonesia. In performance and on CD recordings, Evergreen Club has presented world premières for gamelan and gamelan-plus by leading composers such as John Cage, James Tenney, Gilles Tremblay, Walter Boudreau, Lou Harrison, Burhan Sukarma, Jon Siddall and John Wyre among many others.

Apart from its numerous CDs, Evergreen Club can be heard on the soundtracks of the films The Ice Storm (M. Danna / Ang Lee); Antoine Fischer (M. Danna / Denzel Washington) and Balifilm (Peter Mettler: film and live music). The eight members of Evergreen Club are as follows:

Richard Sacks holds a masters degree in percussion from SUNY Stony Brook. He performs with Arraymusic, The Glass Orchestra, New Music Concerts, the Canadian Opera Co., Tapestry New Opera, the Evergreen Club Gamelan and others. He has toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia. Recent dance collaborations include the acclaimed White Snake Ballet (Xing Dance Company), pieces for Marie-Joseé Chartier for première in Singapore, for Peter Chin at the NAC and ‘Art in Open Spaces’ with Jessica Runge. He has performed with Robert Desrosiers, Dancemakers, Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Bill James and Toronto Dance Theatre. His own performance pieces mix percussion, theatre and movement in unique ways for soloist and large ensemble.

Paul Houle has a career as international performing artist, master educator, and workshop facilitator. Through his company, ‘BOOM!’, he presents global percussion workshops which are individually designed for corporations, educational and community organizations. He is on faculty at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and has developed innovative programmes for ‘Learning through the Arts TM’ since its inception. His performance career includes work for many orchestras and chamber music groups as well as radio and television. He performs globally with the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and John Wyre’s World Drum Orchestra.

Andrew Timar has been active in Toronto’s New Music and World Music scenes since the 1970s as a composer, musician, teacher, arts administrator and as founding editor of MUSICWORKS magazine. He has founded several groups whose focus is the development and performance of contemporary concert music, often including multimedia elements, and has composed for, performed and recorded with a number of Toronto-based groups, including Musicdance Orchestra, New Music Co-op, Critical Band, and New Music Concerts. Over the past twenty years he has made his mark as a suling (Indonesian bamboo ring flute) and gamelan player, concert organizer and teacher. As a suling and gamelan performer, he has been active throughout Canada, Europe, Japan and Indonesia, and served as the Artistic Director of Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan from 1987 to 1990.

Mark Duggan is a versatile performer and composer, comfortable in many genres. As a performer, he has appeared with a variety of ensembles, including Toronto New Music Concerts, Continuum Contemporary Music, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Art of Time Ensemble. He is also a founding member of the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan (since 1983) which has performed throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. He is a graduate of the master’s program in world percussion at the California Institute of the Arts, and has performed in a wide spectrum of musical contexts, appearing with the Philip Glass Ensemble, the percussion group Nexus and the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris directed by Pierre Boulez.

Blair Mackay (Artistic Director) began his career in 1976 in Montreal playing jazz and fusion music, while studying classical percussion with Pierre Beluse, and Robert Leroux. Since then, his eclectic performance career as percussionist and drummer has been highlighted in a wide range of musical contexts. In 1988 he completed his Master of Music degree in performance at the University of Toronto. He frequently performs for radio, television and film soundtracks, as well as performing and recording with many orchestras and small ensembles. As a soloist, he has given first performances of new works for drumset and percussion in a variety of contemporary, instrumental contexts and has been a featured soloist at festivals in Mexico City, Montreal and Toronto, and on CBC national radio. Since 1992 he has been artistic director of the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan.

The performance experience of the guitarist Bill Parsons encompasses jazz, improvised, concert, popular, and world music. As a composer and arranger he has worked within a wide range of musical settings from jazz and concert music to interdisciplinary works with film-makers, photographers, theatre directors, and choreographers. He also writes poetry, lyrics, and has cowritten a screenplay. At present he performs locally and internationally with Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan.

Ryan Scott is an acclaimed marimba and multi-percussion soloist. He performs regularly as a solo and chamber musician across Canada and throughout the world. He also plays with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the Bob Becker Ensemble, The Composers’ Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Soundstreams Canada, Ensemble Noir, con.Takt, and with the violist Rivka Golani. He has been recorded numerous times for CBC national radio and for hatART, Naxos, CMC and CBC recording labels. He also plays in an innovative new duo ArpaTambora, with his wife, the harpist Sanya Eng.

Graham Hargrove is a Toronto-based percussionist. He studied with Salvador Ferreras at the University of Victoria and with Russell Hartenberger and Beverly Johnston at the University of Toronto. He has performed throughout Canada, Europe and Asia with contemporary music ensembles and with modern dance. He performed over 400 shows as a marimbist in the Toronto production of Disney’s The Lion King. His duet album Reinventions with the Toronto percussionist Nicholas Coulter is heard frequently on CBC radio.

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