It is often said that music is a universal language. Perhaps this is partly why it has been such a useful tool for socially and politically conscious musicians from Beethoven to Wagner and Liszt to advance their convictions. And so it goes for Ananda Sukarlan.

The great musician and composer Ananda Sukarlan. Photo by John Paul/NOW!JAKARTA

In the past 25 years since his birth onto the international concert stage with his First Prize at the “Nadia Boulanger” — Concours International d’Orleans, Ananda Sukarlan has won more international competitions, give more concerts, composed more music than any Indonesian musician the average person can name.

Possibly because such a name does not exist. Like Liszt, Sukarlan’s main or at least initial claim to fame was as a pianist, though his ventures into opera may be considered more fruitful. His operas “Ibu, yang anaknya  diculik itu” and “Clara” are truly landmark works for Indonesian music and raise important social issues.

His Rapsodia Nusantara, reminiscent of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies, which currently number more than the latter’s have won an important place for Indonesia in the ongoing history of Classical Music (for lack of a better term for the genre) and more importantly, given its ongoing rapid disappearance, may one day be all that’s left of our traditional music heritage

Celebrating the 50th birthday of Ananda Sukarlan, Raffles Hotel will hold a tribute exactly on his birthday,  10 June. As almost always with Ananda’s recent concerts, it will also showcase, for the younger generation, Indonesian music talents. These include:

Nyoman Giovani, Regina Handoko, Angelica Liviana and Michael Anthony. Being blind & autistic, Michael Anthony’s gift may leave you re-evaluating life. Ananda himself will give the performance of “A Song for Papua” and Rapsodia Nusantara no. 22, both written for Greenpeace’s campaign against the deforestation of the island of Papua.


Ananda Sukarlan Concert
10 June 2018, 4pm
Raffles Jakarta, Ciputra World 1, Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav. 3-5
Contact: 0818 891038 (Chendra)

John Paul

John Paul

John Paul studied music in Germany and Italy. He founded an annual charity concert in 2011, helping over 200 children stay in and or return to school.